Diane Bukowski under arrest Photo courtesy Fox 2 News Detroit

BY GARY YOUNGE, published in The Nation and by Agence Globale  

December 19, 2008

(Nov. 17, 2010 – This article is being re-published due to a recent attack on Bukowski related to her conviction in this case.)

 On election day James Willingham, 42, was driving home from the polls in Detroit around 3:30 pm on his motorcycle when he was allegedly hit by a police car with such force that he struck and killed a pedestrian, Jeffrey Frazier, and then crashed into a pole and died from the impact.

When Diane Bukowski, a white journalist for the black newspaper Michigan Citizen, heard the news on a black radio station, she rushed to the scene on the corner of Justine and East Davison. The first print reporter to arrive, she showed her credentials and started taking photographs. A female state trooper yelled at her from across the street, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” Bukowski again identified herself as a journalist. “I didn’t cross any police tape,” says Bukowski. “I was just doing my job.” The trooper grabbed the camera, deleted the photos, handcuffed Bukowski, arrested her on a single misdemeanor count of obstructing an investigation and took her to state police headquarters, where she was held for about an hour.

James Willingham

And so it was that as the polls were closing in Michigan and the nation began to bask in the warm glow of a post-racial society, a white woman was cuffed and fingerprinted because she tried to tell the world about two black men who had just been killed.

For all the dreamy talk of the journey we are on to transcend race, only a handful like Bukowski are actually paying for the ticket. Not just because she’s a white woman who works for a black newspaper and got arrested, or because the victims she was writing about were black, but because she is a white person who is prepared to take on the mess that white supremacy has built.


Extinguishing race as a meaningful category demands that we first get rid of the racism that gives it meaning. In that respect, the symbolic resonance of election night in Chicago — joyous as it was — can be understood only within the systemic neglect and harassment of that fateful afternoon in Detroit. The two scenes do not contradict but complement each other. A black man in the White House seemed so unlikely precisely because a black man in prison or dead at the hands of the police is so much more likely. What individuals do in the privacy of the polling booth pleasantly surprised some of us; but the outrageous things institutions do in plain sight no longer turn heads. Race describes the protagonists; power shapes the narrative.

Jeffery Frazier

“I’m happy that Barack Obama got elected,” says Arnold Reed, Bukowski’s attorney. “It’s a start. But he’s not the savior. He’s not standing on the corner of Justine and Davison. The battle that transcends race in this country is between those who have and those who have not. Diane’s reports have given a voice to those who have not.”

Bukowski cuts an intriguing figure. An insatiable gum-chewer, she strides through the roughest areas of black Detroit in single-minded pursuit of her stories. She is 60 years old and stands at around 5 feet 4 inches. A few days after her arrest, her charge was ramped up to five felony counts of assaulting, wounding, battering, resisting, obstructing or endangering five troopers, carrying up to ten years in prison. The idea of this small woman single-handedly battering five armed troopers would be funny if it weren’t so absurd. The charges were reduced to two troopers following a preliminary exam.

The police claim they didn’t hit Willingham. They say the accident on election day occurred when Willingham raced away from them on a stolen motorcycle after they tried to pull him over for speeding.

Brandon Moore's family and friends after his funeral

Given a choice between their account and Bukowski’s, I know which one I would believe. She reported on the murder of Brandon Martell Moore for the Michigan Citizen. Brandon, 16, was shot in the back by an off-duty cop as he left a mall. Brandon had never been in trouble with the law before. But the cop who shot him had. In 1971 Eugene Williams, who is black, was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident while under the influence of alcohol. In 1979 Williams shot and killed a 31-year-old man during a neighborhood brawl. Five years later he shot his wife, but she lived. Williams stayed on the force. The senseless death of a black teenager at the hand of a wayward cop is clearly not a newsworthy story in Detroit. The city’s two main newspapers needed less than 200 words to write up the whole story in which they failed even to mention Brandon’s name and quoted only the police.

Were it not for Bukowski, who pursued the case relentlessly, Brandon would have died without a trace. Thanks to her reporting, the community demanded answers.

Cops Michael Parish and Michael Osman raped dozens of Black men in Detroit

So there is a reason the Detroit police don’t like Bukowski. She refuses to let them do their job the way they see fit. During her years at the Citizen she has broken several stories, including one about the “Booty Boys” — police on Detroit’s Southwest side were conducting illegal cavity searches of black men in public on city streets. She also broke the story of Eugene Brown, a cop who ran amok in black areas during the ’90s. Her work was used by federal authorities when they imposed a consent decree on Detroit police. Nonetheless, all these police officers, most of whom are black, remain on the force. “This is clearly an attempt to intimidate me,” says Bukowski of her arrest. “They are trying to cover up what happened.” Without her, they would get away with murder, literally.

At Detroit’s 36th District court, where Bukowski’s preliminary exam was heard, almost everyone is black — the public defenders, judges, security guards, defendants, cashiers, stenographers, ushers. Once the system is up and running, the race of those who operate it is as secondary as the race of those who fight it.

Gary Younge, the Alfred Knobler Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the New York correspondent for the Guardian and the author of No Place Like Home: A Black Briton’s Journey Through the Deep South (Mississippi) and Stranger in a Strange Land: Travels in the Disunited States

(New Press).
Copyright © 2008 The Nation – distributed by Agence Global
Released: 19 December 2008
Word Count: 987

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July 28, 2010 Update on Bukowski’s appeal of felony convictions; contributions urgently needed

In memoriam: James Willingham

In memoriam: Jeffery Frazier

Attorneys John Royal, recognized as one of the state’s top appellate attorneys, and Sharon McPhail, previously a progrssive City Councilwoman and General Counsel for the City of Detroit, filed a 50-page  brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals July 28 asking that reporter Diane Bukowski’s two felony convictions be vacated, or a new trial ordered.

Bukowski, who was reporting for The Michigan Citizen, was arrested Nov. 6, 2008 while photographing the aftermath of a reckless State Police chase on East Davison that took the lives of  Detroiters Jeffery Frazier and James Willingham. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy retaliated against Bukowski for her prolific coverage of police brutality cases and Worthy’s refusal to prosecute any killer cops from Detroit, by charging Bukowski with five felonies carrying ten years in prison. Bukowski  was convicted June 1, 2009 by a majority suburbanite jury of two charges. She served a one-year probation and paid more than $5,000 in fines.

The brief cites the failure of Judge Michael Hathaway to “either allow argument regarding defendant’s constitutional rights as a newsgatherer,” or to instruct the jury regarding those rights. Hathaway granted a motion by Asst. Prosecutor Tom Trczinski barring defense arguments related to the First Amendment. The brief also cites State Trooper Byerly’s deliberate destruction of evidence; he admittedly erased two photographs Bukowski had taken; Hathaway had warned him he might be charged but he never was.

Royal and McPhail also contend that Bukowski was never bound over on charges of crossing a crime scene tape. Trzcinski made the alleged action, the centerpiece of the trial, although Bukowski and later, one of the prosecution’s own witnesses, denied she did so. Trczinski knew he could not prove charges that she had “battered, assaulted, resisted, obstructed”  or otherwise endangered the two troopers who arrested her. Raw footage of Bukowski’s arrest provided by Fox 2 News showed none of those actions. (See “Links.”)

 ”The trial court repeatedly injected itself into the trial, by repeatedly demeaning defense counsel [Emmett Greenwood] in the presence of the jury; by making and sustaining its own ojections to the defense examination of witnesses . . . . The trial court improperly took on the role of the prosecution,” Royal and McPhail contend in the brief. They also cite demeaning personal remarks Hathaway and Trzcinski continually directed at Bukowski, and at The Michigan Citizen, among numerous other issues.

They have included 153 instances of case law in support of Bukowski’s appeal, along with violations of state statutes, court rules, and the State and U.S. Constitutions.

“I profoundly thank Attorneys Royal and McPhail for the hundreds of hours they put into motions for reconsideration before Judge Hathaway, and the arduous work that produced this excellent brief,” Bukowski said. “They have so far received little compensation for their dedicated work.  I also profoundly thank my grass roots supporters, especially those who packed the courtroom during every hearing on my case. Members of Call ‘em Out in particular showed up every time, and they buoyed my spirit tremendously through this ordeal. I look forward to victory at the Appeals Court level.”

Royal said the prosecutor will file her brief in response next, after which he and McPhail will file a reply brief. Bukowski said the community will be notified once a date for the appeals hearing is scheduled.

“Mr. Frazier, Mr. Willingham, and their families, are the true victims in this case,” Bukowski added. ”Their loved ones are still grieving, and my heart remains with them. The troopers who caused their deaths have never been disciplined or jailed for their gross violations of their own vehicle pursuit rules during this reckless high-speed chase through a densely-populated, poor community. Troopers have continued such chases in Detroit, most recently through a community near the home of Aiyana Stanley-Jones in May. They ended up ramming the car into a tree, and shooting  20-year-old Damion Gayles in the neck as he exited the car, without cause.  He fortunately survived.  Hundreds of neighbors staged a mini-rebellion afterwards. The police state in which Detroiters live must be dismantled by the people’s action.”

To help compensate attorneys Royal and McPhail for the hundreds of dedicated hours and arduous work they are putting into this case, donations to The Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski, 9000 E. Jefferson #10-9, Detroit MI 48214, are urgently needed. Contact Royal at 313-962-3739 or Bukowski at 313-825-6126 for further informaton.

Reporter Sandbagged?


Is Diane Bukowski being unfairly targeted by the Prosecutor’s office


 News Hits will be the first to admit that Diane Bukowski isn’t a conventional mainstream journalist. She is, after all, a freelancer for The Michigan Citizen, a publication that bills itself as “America’s most progressive community newspaper.”

Whatever you may think about Bukowski’s skills as a journalist, however, there’s no question that she’s tenacious. As we pointed out before, she was the first in town to draw attention to the problem of Detroit police officers being involved in far too many questionable shootings. Eventually, after other media followed her lead and began exposing the situation, a U.S. Justice Department investigation concluded in 2003 that the department was, along with other severe shortcomings, “subjecting individuals to uses of excessive force. …” As a result, the DPD remains under federal oversight.

Which brings us to the issue of Bukowski’s felony conviction earlier this year, and her ongoing attempt to win a new trial.

In November 2008, Bukowski was arrested for allegedly crossing a police barrier to take pictures at the scene of a fatal accident on Detroit’s west side. The accident involved a motorcyclist fleeing the Michigan State Police, who were engaged in a high-speed pursuit. The motorcyclist struck a pedestrian, and both were killed.

Bukowski, who has questioned why the cops weren’t using their siren while making a high-speed chase past a school, showed up and began taking photos. The cops, who were dealing with an unruly crowd, quickly slapped cuffs on her and took her away in a squad car.

Before doing so, however, one of the state troopers confiscated her camera and deleted some of the photos. Bukowski was charged and convicted of two felony counts of resisting and/or obstructing police earlier this year and put on probation for one year, fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Although the judge handling the case, Michael Hathaway, has said several times from the bench that the state trooper illegally destroyed evidence, Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office has never brought charges against him. Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski defended the cop’s action, saying it was done to keep the crowd from getting out of control.

That seems a patently ridiculous rationale, since there’s no way people in the crowd could see images on the camera or know that they were being erased. Why single out Bukowski?

A local Fox 2 news crew filmed Bukowski’s arrest; the tape, which we watched being played in court, shows no sign of Bukowski offering any type of resistance. 

News Hits firmly believes that, at best, Bukowski was overcharged; what she did in no way should have been considered a felony offense. 

The jury, however, disagreed. They were prohibited, however, from taking into account the fact that Bukowski was acting as a reporter. Bukowski contends that she was offered a plea deal that would have reduced the charges to a misdemeanor offense in return for admitting guilt, but she refused, continuing to claim that she did nothing wrong.

Bukowski was in court last week — before Hathaway again — with a pair of new lawyers, John Royal and Sharon McPhail, who were seeking a new trial for their 60-year-old client. 

Much of their argument for a new trial is based on the claim that Bukowski wasn’t effectively represented during her first trial. Because of a conflict with her original lawyer, Bukowski obtained a new attorney just 10 days before she was set to go to trial. A request by that new attorney, Emmett Greenwood, to delay the proceedings so that he could become better acquainted with the case file, was denied by Hathaway.

Hathaway, in last week’s hearing, turned down nearly all the reasons posted by Bukowski’s lawyers arguing for a new trial. For example, the defense argued that during the preliminary exam conducted by Judge Beverly Hayes-Sipes, it was ruled that Bukowski should not be prosecuted for merely breaching the crime scene barrier. However, the prosecution was allowed at trial to make that issue a central part of the case against Bukowski.

Hathaway said last week that he was not obligated to abide by Hayes-Sipes’ preliminary ruling.

Subsequent to the trial, Bukowski’s new lawyers obtained a sworn affidavit from former TV newsman and recently elected Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh stating that, in his experience, police routinely allowed reporters — including himself — to cross crime-scene barriers. In effect, Bukowski was just doing what reporters typically do without any consequence.

Bukowski’s original lawyer did not even try to raise that kind of access as an issue in her defense. Hathaway said last week he probably would not have allowed Pugh to testify, even if the defense had attempted to bring him to the witness stand.

It has been Bukowski’s claim all along that hers is a case of selective prosecution, and that one of the reasons Worthy’s office is coming down on her so hard is because of previous reporting that has been highly critical of the prosecutor.

The prosecutor’s office has repeatedly denied retaliation is a motive for pressing this case.

After last week’s hearing, McPhail said that she will again raise the issue of Pugh’s affidavit with Hathaway, saying that the judge is missing a fundamental point. For Bukowski to have been convicted of a felony, it would be necessary to prove she intentionally violated the law,  McPhail told us. But, if reporters are indeed routinely allowed to enter a crime scene, then that sort of intent was not possible to prove.

There was one point on which Bukowski and her lawyers did win, if not an outright victory, at least the opportunity to be heard further. They argued that a surprise rebuttal witness, called just before the case went to the jury, was improperly allowed to take the stand.

That witness, a security guard named Karl Scales, testified that he observed a “young lady” cross the crime scene tape. That testimony was particularly damaging because he was the only person other than a police officer to make that claim. As Trzcinski told the jury, Scales had no reason to lie because he “had no horse in this race.” (At least four other people, according to sworn affidavits, claim that Bukowski did not cross the tape.)

The problem is that the defense was never notified by the prosecution that this witness even existed, let alone that he would be called to testify. 

“The prosecution thereby violated the statute requiring it to identify to the defense all … witnesses as they become known to the prosecution,” Bukowski’s lawyers argued in court filings. “Further, the prosecution also violated the rule that prohibits the tactic, commonly called ’sandbagging,’ of dividing up its case-in-chief, and presenting crucial witnesses at the end of the trial who should have been called at the beginning.”

The prosecution claimed it properly used Scales.

To his credit, Hathaway allowed that he might have erred in allowing Scales to take the stand. He set a January hearing date to zero in on that issue.

Whatever he decides then, however, is unlikely to be the last word. It is an almost certainty, said Royal after last week’s proceeding, that whichever side loses on the question of a new trial will take the case to the court of appeals.

No one would ever deny Diane Bukowski is a dogged and tenacious reporter. 

She’s now proving to be the same as a defendant.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com.

Bukowski Appeal Moves Ahead, Next hearing Dec. 23

City Councilwoman Joann Watson, UAW Local 2334 Pres. Dave Sole, and Diane BukowskiBukowski appeal moves ahead

By Teresa Kelly
Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Attorneys John Royal and Sharon McPhail took the first successful step toward overturning the conviction of Michigan Citizen reporter Diane Bukowski.
She was sentenced to probation, community service and fines following a trial ending May 1 on two felony counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer.
In a hearing Friday, Nov. 20, trial Judge Michael Hathaway granted Bukowski’s motion for an evidentiary hearing and scheduled it for Dec. 23.
“It was a significant event in the process of vindication,” Royal said following the hearing.


Her lawyers argue that Bukowski did not receive effective representation, was sandbagged at trial when the prosecutor presented a last minute witness the defense had no knowledge of, and was tried on charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing.

Bukowski was tried on charges stemming from a doubly fatal accident following a police chase of a motorcyclist and a pedestrian hit during that chase, Nov. 4, 2008.

One of the strongest issues on appeal, Royal said, was that Judge Beverly Hayes-Sipes, who presided at the preliminary hearing, dismissed all charges against Bukowski that crossing the yellow accident scene tape constituted resisting and obstructing. Hayes-Sipes bound Bukowski over only on allegations that she had physically resisted being arrested and hand-cuffed.

The prosecutor never appealed the Hayes-Sipes ruling, Royal said, yet at trial, Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski tried her and the judge instructed the jury to consider whether she had crossed the yellow tape as constituting resisting and obstructing.

Crossing the yellow tape was an issue that was not properly before Judge Hathaway, Royal said. “No one brought that to the court’s attention. It is one basis for arguing ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Royal explained he thinks that after the prosecutor saw the Channel 2, Fox News video tape of the accident scene, which caught the arrest and handcuffing of Bukowski on tape, that there was, from his perspective, clearly no evidence of Bukowski resisting the officers.

Bukowski’s attorneys want to interview the cameraman who took the video since Judge Hathaway commented during trial, while the jury was out, that it looked to him that Fox 2 was also inside the yellow tape.

Royal and McPhail argue selective prosecution, why was reporter Bukowski prosecuted while other media outlets and reporters routinely cross the yellow line.

During trial, Prosecutor Trzcinski brought in a surprise last-minute witness, security guard Karl Scales who testified that he saw Bukowski behind the yellow tape. Neither the defendant nor her lawyer were aware of Scales’ existence. His name had not appeared in any police reports or added to the list of res gestae witnesses.

Producing Scales, without letting the defense know beforehand, is a clear violation of the law, Royal and McPhail argued.

Bukowski’s rights were also denied because she could not present to the jury her role as a reporter at the scene, could not get an extension of time to hire a new attorney after her first attorney quit, nor could the new attorney get time to adequately prepare for trial.

An affidavit from former Fox News reporter and current council president-elect Charles Pugh states that reporters routinely work behind yellow police tape.

Demand new trial for Bukowski Fri. Nov. 20; justice for Willingham, Frazier families

 Diane-Bukowski-arrest-Nov4Attorneys John Royal and Sharon McPhail will represent Diane Bukowski in motions for a new trial and evidentiary hearing, Fri. Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. in Judge Michael Hathaway’s court, Rm. #501 of the Frank Murphy Hall, 1441 St. Antoine at Gratiot.

 Bukowski was reporting for The Michigan Citizen on a fatal high-speed chase by state troopers Nov. 4, 2008 when she was arrested. She was convicted of two felonies May 1 and sentenced to one year probation and a $4,000 fine. Supporters of Bukowski, the police victims, and freedom of the press are asked to pack the courtroom.

“The fight for justice for James Willingham, a father of 10 with a large and loving family, and Jeffery Frazier, a beloved resident of the E. Davison neighborhood where the men died because troopers violated vehicle pursuit rules, must also continue,” said Bukowski. ”The one-year anniversary of their deaths as the holidays approach is an extremely painful time for their families.” Read more »


Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

The Michigan Citizen

  By T. Kelly and staff

 DETROIT — Armed with letters of support from citizens and lawyers alike, bolstered by a throng of supporters packing the court, Diane Bukowski’s new attorneys John Royal and Sharon McPhail argued successfully for the Michigan Citizen reporter’s freedom as they mapped preliminary appeal arguments before Judge Michael Hathaway, June 1.

Convicted by a jury last month of two felony counts of resisting and obstructing police, Bukowski faced up to two years in jail. She received one year probation, a $4,000 fine,  and 200 hours of community service.   

“This is an attack not just on me, but on Black-owned media, and the right of the people of Detroit and other Black majority cities to receive coverage of events crucial to their survival,” said Bukowski after her sentencing. “I have covered trials for years, watching Detroiters railroaded because they cannot afford their own attorneys and because they face mainly suburban white juries who believe the police. Police and state troopers are on the wild because no one, particularly Kym Worthy, checks them.”

At the sentencing, Prosecutor Thomas Trczinski argued that since Bukowski had “no clue as to having done anything wrong,” she required a lengthy probation of five years. He also wanted her ordered to take a journalism ethics course. Hathaway said he feared ordering Bukowski to take the class would abridge her first amendment rights since her reporting was “advocacy for the underrepresented” and would come “perilously close to altering her point of view.”

Hathaway also said he was “astounded” that Bukowski failed to disclose that one of her two character witnesses at trial, Attorney Jerry Goldberg, was her ex-husband. Calling it an “important piece of information,” Hathaway said it could weigh on credibility. Bukowski said later that the two had not been together for 28 years, and that they maintain professional contact because Bukowski covers stories about events sponsored by organizations like the Moratorium NOW! Coalition against Foreclosures and Evictions, of which Attorney Goldberg is a leader.

Hathaway also said “in fairness,” he had to note that some of the troopers’ testimony was refuted, concluding, “neither side’s hands are clean.” A Fox 2 news videotape of her arrest showed that Bukowski did not resist at all, although troopers testified that she “struggled all the way to the car.” One trooper deleted photos from her camera, felony destruction of evidence, but was never prosecuted.

Bukowski was arrested Nov. 4 while covering a fatal accident scene following a high-speed chase by Michigan State Troopers on East Davison.Those troopers violated numerous vehicle pursuit rules, resulting in the deaths of two Detroiters. They have not been disciplined or charged.

Attorneys Royal and McPhail said the conviction will be appealed and the merits of the issues are “substantial.” While the trial transcript is not yet available, the attorney said there are many appellate issues.

First and foremost are violations of Bukowski’s First Amendment rights during her arrest and at trial. The judge partially granted a motion by the prosecution to preclude testimony relating to Bukowski’s role as a reporter, and did not instruct the jury of her expanded rights at the scene as a new-gather.

Royal also said Hathaway did not have jurisdiction over Bukowski’s alleged crossing of the yellow tape, the only offense the prosecution stressed. The judge instructed the jury that the yellow tape constituted a written order and if the jury found she had crossed the yellow tape it would constitute resisting and obstructing. It was the one thing the jury convicted her of, crossing the yellow tape.

Royal said that the preliminary exam transcript showed that 36th District Court Judge Beverly Hayes-Sipes “specifically ruled that the resisting and obstructing statute” did not encompass the crossing of the yellow-tape boundary.

“You are not charged with interfering with the investigation. You are charged with obstructing, assaulting and resisting police officers in the performance of their duties,” the judge ruled. The judge also noted that the prosecutor wanted to charge Bukowski with endangering the officers simply by being on the scene. Hayes-Sipes said that was not “the intent of this particular statute.” She bound Bukowski over on two counts for the two officers who physically came in contact with her during handcuffing.

Royal said the prosecutor also failed to let the defense know of a key witness presented during rebuttal. According to the jury foreman, it was the testimony of that surprise witness, a security guard, that convinced the jury that Bukowski had crossed the yellow tape.

Another basis for appeal stems from the breakdown in the attorney-client relationship between Bukowski and her first attorney. Several weeks before the trial, Attorney Arnold Reed filed a motion to withdraw from defending Bukowski. Both sides agreed that the attorney-client relationship had soured and the prosecutor did not object to Reed’s withdrawal. However, the judge refused to grant the motion for fear the trial date would have to be adjourned. With only 10 days to prepare, Bukowski’s new attorney filed two motions to adjourn the trial to allow more time to prepare. which were deneid.

Royal and McPhail said two attorneys helped in preparing the appeals memorandum, Attorney Kathryn Bruner James, of Goodman and Hurwitz; and Attorney Tim Holloway.


Doll's Go Kart Track owner Ron Hereford, with young customers.

Doll's Go Kart Track owner Ron Hereford, with young customers.

Fri. June 5 12noon-9pm, 4455 Oakman s. of Grand River

for Michigan Citizen Reporter Diane Bukowski’s Legal Appeal

Bring your kids and grand-kids!!

Refreshments, games, good talk

Diane Bukowski, a reporter for The Michigan Citizen newspaper for nearly 10 years, was framed up by Michigan State troopers and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy when she photographed the aftermath of a fatal police chase last Election Day, Nov. 4. The chase, down East Davison, took the lives of Detroiters James Willingham, a father of 10, and Jeffery Frazier, who was beloved in his community.

Worthy first brought FIVE FELONY COUNTS of “assaulting, battering, wounding, resisting, obstructing or endangering” troopers at the scene. The charges were reduced to two counts at Bukowski’s preliminary exam. But on May 1 a jury composed mainly of suburbanites convicted her, despite having seen a Fox 2 News videotape that showed her innocence, depicting her arrest from beginning to end. She was sentenced to one-year probation and over $4000 in fines June 1. Her appeals attorneys are John Royal and Sharon McPhail.

Bukowski has covered cases of police brutality, including killings, rapes and frame-ups, for the last ten years, earning Worthy’s enmity because she also covered complaints by victims’ families when Worthy refused to criminally charge the perpetrators. Bukowski has broad support from journalists, public officials, union officers, community groups and people across Detroit, the state and the country.

All proceeds to the Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski & Freedom of the Press. Donations of food, games, etc. welcomed. Drop off $$$ donations if you can’t stay.

For more info, call Cornell Squires, legal Coordinator for the Original Detroit Coalition against Policy Brutality, 313-460-3175.

Reporter Convicted of Felonies, Violating First Amendment


Diane Bukowski, a long-time photojournalist with the Detroit-based, Black-owned Michigan Citizen newspaper, was convicted May 1 of two felony counts involving “assaulting, battering, wounding, resisting, obstructing, or endangering” police. Each count carries a maximum of two years in prison.

Bukowski’s sentencing is set for Monday, June 1, 2009 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Michael Hathaway, Room 501, Wayne County Circuit Court, 1441 St. Antoine (at Gratiot), Detroit, Michigan 48226.

Read more »

Two Black men die in trooper chase as Black President elected

On Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008, 41-year-old James Willingham, a father of 10, was riding to the polls on his motorcycle. State Troopers John Hetfield and James Wojton gave chase, claiming he was speeding. In violation of MSP pursuit rules, they had no lights or siren on, according to witnesses and a forensic analyst who reviewed their dashcam videotape.

Read more »

Jeffery Frazier: “Our Angel”

Frazier’s family and friends said the young man, 34 and known as “Tank,” was autistic, and loved throughout the community. He took his neighbors’ trash cans to the curb, and made a regular job out of collecting bottles and cans from the streets, all the way from Ryan to Mound. Merchants in the neighborhood knew exactly when he was coming to clear their areas.

“He loved doing that,” said Frazier’s mother, Charlotte Ann Frazier. “He graduated from the Burger Center in Garden City, a school for autistics. All his teachers were so proud of him. He never missed one day of school, and he never missed one Sunday in the Open Doors Baptist Church and Greater Concord church. He was our angel.”

Read more »