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Bidding Benny adieu


News Hits waves a happy farewell to Detroit Police Chief Benny Napoleon, who, after 25 years on the force, retired on Monday. If it weren’t for Olympic ice skater Tonya Harding, who was desperate to win the gold medal, maybe Benny never would have made it to the top. Remember the hired goons who bonked Harding’s competition Nancy Kerrigan on the knee at Joe Louis Arena? And remember Benny before the cameras talking about the strange incident? Funny how such appearances can catapult some to success. Beverly Hills Cop sure did wonders for a one-time cop named Gil Hill, the Detroit City Council president who’s running for mayor.

But as they say, it’s sometimes lonely at the top. In Benny’s honor — and that of former Executive Fire Commissioner E. Charles Wilson, who Mayor Dennis Archer appointed as Nap’s replacement — we composed a list of the 10 top reasons we suspect he stepped down (the same reasons why Wilson may want to reconsider taking this job):

No. 10: Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits.

No. 9: Too many folks are “mysteriously” dying in precinct lockups.

No. 8: He doesn’t know what to do with Officer Eugene Brown, who shot nine people, killing three or them, in seven years on the force.

No. 7: He’s afraid that the infamous Shoulders report which allegedly outlines what went down during four of the Brown shootings, and which the city has refused to make public, may come to light.

No. 6: He’s tired of the U.S. Justice Department breathing down his neck over the high number of fatal shootings by police officers.

No. 5: He’s tired of the U.S. Justice Department breathing down his neck over the police department’s dragnet approach to tracking down murder suspects.

No. 4: He’s just plain tired.

No. 3: The pay sucks.

No. 2: He was going to be out of a job anyhow once Archer left office, and he wanted to get a head start on positioning himself for the 2005 mayoral race.

No. 1: Giving good TV isn’t everything.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or