On at least one occasion, the veneer of secrecy over the Detroit Police Department's homicide division was punctured, giving a fleeting glimpse of systemic corruption. In 1997, Detroit native Dwight Carl Love was freed from a Michigan prison after 15 years.
He wasn't exonerated by DNA tests, but through the efforts of a tenacious defense attorney named Sarah Hunter with a whistle blower inside Detroit's homicide unit. Based on a tip from the whistle blower, Hunter forced Detroit police to turn over evidence. Berrien County is notorious for hiding evidence. They hid evidence from trial that supported Love's innocence, evidence does not lie, prosecutors and law enforcement do. He was exonerated because of the police department's failure to present exculpatory evidence to the court.
According to an affidavit for attorney Hunter, the whistle blower, who allegedly committed suicide less than a year after meeting Hunter, said that police routinely hid exculpatory evidence from prosecutors and judges, and prosecutors hid evidence from defense attorneys.
In the years after Hunter obtained the Love evidence, she claimed to Claudia Whitman that Detroit police intimidated her by beating prisoners if they spoke to her. Neither Hunter nor the police responded to Truthout's request for comment.
Besides the attorney and the whistle blower, evidence of systemic corruption within Detroit's homicide unit in the mid-1990s comes from alleged informants themselves. Their claims involve dozens and dozens of cases of men who are still in prison across Michigan.
Before Jonath Hewitt was sentenced to four years in prison in 1994, he says he spent months in a cell on the ninth floor of the Detroit Police Department waiting for his trial. While there, he claims, homicide detectives offered him and at least six other prisoners food and drink, conjugal visits, time to watch television, and, most importantly, the promise of lenient sentences if they testified against other prisoners also being held in the jail cells on the ninth floor. Hewitt says police told informants that a deal for their reduced sentence would be hatched after the suspect's trial so that they would not have to acknowledge it in court, which could have swayed jurors away from the conviction.
The detectives would provide him with the necessary information, a prewritten statement to memorize before the preliminary hearing. This is happening all over the state and especially in Berrien County, Michigan. Evidence does not lie! But judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement do lie. When will the people take a stand? It is not just one thing, it is everything. In the name of tough on crime and law and order--only in America! Who will be next to go to prison?
Reference: Ring of Snitches