Detroit cop suspended, racist demo worker under fire, bedbugs: Your Monday morning briefing

“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.

These are the top stories you’re waking up to:

Detroit cop suspended after ‘zoo animals’ comment

A rookie Detroit cop was suspended Sunday evening after posting an offensive Snapchat that refers to Detroit suspects as “zoo animals.”

The Detroit Police Department’s Internal Affairs is investigating Officer S. Bostwick after he sent a photo of himself in a police uniform and typed, “Another night to Rangel [SIC] up these zoo animals.”

Police Chief James Craig said he suspended Bostwick as soon as he saw the social media post and arranged a hearing with the officer Monday morning.

The social media post was first reported by Motor City Muckraker on Sunday.

Demolition worker called city of Detroit employees the N-word

A Warren-based demolition company is under investigation after two black city of Detroit employees said one of the construction workers called them the N-word and threatened one of them with physical violence.

The Detroit Police Department has launched an investigation into Den-Man Contractors, which already is under scrutiny for illegally dumping large piles of dirt and other materials on a resident’s property in April.

The Sept. 14 incident happened after Building Authority employees said a machine operator, Tim Sherman, became “very irrational and unprofessional” when asked to remove a large tree branch that had fallen on the property of a woman living next door during the demolition, according to the Free Press

Robert Hill, a field liaison for the city, wrote in an email that Sherman threatened to fight him and later responded, “F—k those n——rs,”

The company apologized, but the city council is considering a permanent ban on future demolitions by Den-Man, which has performed 521 demolitions in the city since 2013.

Detroit firefighters, police officers infested by bedbugs

Detroit firefighters and police officers are dealing with a new nuisance – bedbugs.

First responders are getting infested with the blood-sucking pests from homes they routinely enter, the Detroit News reports.

“Bedbugs are the new roaches,” Detroit police assistant chief James White said. “We realize it’s a problem for our officers, and we have an aggressive treatment program.”

The Detroit Fire Fighters Association filed a grievance last year, complaining about the department’s “failure to promptly and fully investigate the bedbug problem.”

The union’s president, Mike Nevin, said his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

“If our guys get bedbugs, all the department offers is some spray and a pair of rubber gloves,” Nevin said. “That’s ridiculous. Spraying won’t get rid of bedbugs.”

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.