I am thoroughly saddened and dismayed by my most recent encounter with the Detroit Police Department. Today I went to check on my late parents home in Detroit on the northeast side, to take the trash out and continue packing up our belongings left from our lives growing up in that house. I discovered once inside that the house had been yet again broken into. It wasn’t the fact that the house had been broken into eight times previously, nor the fact that the eleventh precinct is within walking distance of the house. It wasn’t even the fact that the door that had been previously nailed shut because of other break-ins had been kicked in. No my shock and dismay came from the way I was treated when I went to file a police report at the eleventh precinct. I arrived at 1:25pm in tears because, after just having paid $1500 in taxes and having paid numerous times to board up other windows, I couldn’t see how I was going to continue dealing with this situation. As you well know, this area is in an economic downturn and money is scarce. When I arrived at the police station front desk as I have on numerous other occasions, no one said anything to me. I gathered that I was to fill out a sign in sheet and have a seat but of course, I wasn’t certain as I wasn’t told anything (much less asked why I was standing at the front desk sobbing). I saw numerous officers walking around talking to each other, taking phone calls. There was one other person in the lobby so I sat and waited. After approximately 20 minutes, I got up to ask what was going on. One officer walked over to check to see how much longer I had to wait while three other officers seated basically told me to shut up, sit down and wait my turn. I told them that the other officer was talking to me and I wanted to see what he had to say, they again told me to just go sit down and wait my turn. After being treated with such disregard, and after having suffered such a debilitating setback in attempting to responsibly deal with this home that I’ve inherited, I asked why I was being treated as if I had done something. They just told me to sit down and wait my turn. The helpful officer told me that in fact I was next but as I sobbed and sat and waited I thought about the previous times I’d been there to report exactly the same crime and what ultimately was going to happen. Essentially, I would get no help whatsoever, while just giving my name and the address of the house. I reasoned that since the house was left open as I couldn’t secure it, my time would be better spent dealing with the actual house. I left without filing a report.
I am a responsible citizen. I could have walked away from the house and let it fall into disrepair as so many others have done. I could have just let it sit there until drug users and drug dealers set up shop but I didn’t. I paid the taxes, I secure the house. I remove all trash in and around the property and for what. To be treated as if I’m a criminal or a fool for having the misfortune to have a house in Detroit. I grew up in that house and I still know the neighbors who are there from that time, they are wonderful people. They are all elderly and fearful as they rightly should be. They may or may not have heard the numerous break-ins but they’ve learned not to call, not to notice, not to say anything because it may be to their detriment. They know the police won't come and so do the criminals. I hope you realize that the system that is in place is, at this point, hopelessly broken. I don’t understand how that kind of behavior by the police who are sworn to protect and serve is acceptable. I don’t understand why after having paid all that money in taxes, that I have to pay a company another $200 to board up a door on a home that is literally 4 blocks away from the nearest police station. I don’t understand why, when I do go to the police station to report a crime against me, I’m treated as if I’m the offender and I don’t understand why this had to happen in the first place. At a certain point everyone who is responsible and a good, law abiding property owner will have had enough and the city will only be populated by criminals who are allowed to function with impunity. It’s shameful and sad. I tried so hard not to give up, not to be beaten by the system but this is just too much. If I could walk away at this point I would. If I can sell the house to the first bidder, I will. This does a serious disservice to the previous generation of proud black people who worked hard to buy and maintain they’re homes, and raise they’re families. They are left with a city that doesn’t care and won’t help.
I know of another person in the neighborhood who is mentally ill and an alcoholic. He was suffering from numerous assaults by the same person. He was beaten and threatened with a gun. When he went to the police he was told “do what you have to do and make it look like self-defense”. I know that those officers were trying to do was get rid of him and the offender. I explained to this person that if he did do something drastic, not only would he be unable to live with ihs guilt but he would be swiftly imprisoned. Is that what it’s come to in Detroit? I can’t help but feel that this all has to do with race, and while everyone involved is black, I doubt very seriously that kind of willful dereliction of duty would be allowed to occur in any other community. This is the kind of racism that's easy to get away with and hard to prove but is so dangerous because at it's core it's all about self loathing. This kind of racism, black on black racism is particularly disgusting as we are being instructed by our own people to kill our own people. I could see it if this were Mississippi in the 1930's or 40’s and the police officers were white in a black community. It’s as if the Detroit Police officers have been instructed to treat the citizenry as if they are caged animals who should simply fight to the death, while they just cart the bodies out and blame it on someone else.
I live in Redford now, essentially across the street from Detroit (in a multi-ethnic neighborhood). I used to think everywhere was like Detroit but it isn’t. If I accidentally leave my door unlocked my things will still be there. If there is an incident and I need the police, they will come. I can walk my dog down the street without fear of her or I being attacked by roaming packs of “street” dogs. I can go for a walk at night. When I arrive home after dark, I don’t have to make a dash for the door and try to open up, get in and lock back up in record time. These are serious quality of life issues and you as Chief of Police, should understand this and these situations should be your priority. I’m ashamed to even be from Detroit at this point and I don’t know how you can, knowing that this is how your department operates, not be ashamed as well.