Reader Susan Newell of Detroit writes:
Violet Ikonomova's blog post "Detroit police official on racial tensions with the department: 'Get over it" implies that the DPD routinely makes light of complaints of racism and discrimination in the department. Although I can't speak to the overall conclusions of her article, I'm familiar with the incident that led to the formation of CORE (Committee on Race and Equality).
Last year a white DPD officer posted a message on his Facebook page comparing the Black Panthers to the Ku Klux Klan, implying that both were hate groups.
A few days after the incident was made public, I attended a meeting with the command staff — which included whites and African-Americans — at the officer's precinct. All of them were angry and offended by the officer's posting. To my surprise, the African-American lieutenants at the meeting said that this veteran officer's posting seemed very out of character. They said they thought he was a good person and officer who'd done something that reflected real ignorance of our nation's history rather than deep prejudice.
In addition to receiving disciplinary action, this white officer was "taken to the woodshed" so to speak, by the African-American officers. They told him about their own and their families' experiences with racism over several generations. And guess what — the white officer got it! Because the purpose of those talks was to achieve genuine understanding and reconciliation rather than just punishment, the white officer listened and was enlightened and changed by the experience.
At a larger monthly community meeting a week later, the captain of the precinct didn't just ignore the incident and hope that no one in the community would bring it up. He brought it up himself and apologized to the largely African-American group for the breach of trust, saying that things like this should never happen in our community. My impression was that people really appreciated the precinct leadership's willingness to acknowledge the problem and act to resolve it in a way that united rather than divided.
I don't know how the DPD generally handles such problems, but I can say that how they handled this situation was a model for how a police department can develop better relations between the police and the community they serve.
In response to Metro Times' coverage of Detroit's dining scene, Tim Flucht writes:
I'd like to compliment you and your staff on your fantastic coverage of Detroit's food scene.
Frankly, you beat both The Detroit News and Free Press, hands down.
The MT restaurant reviews are more relevant, focusing more on the food than the décor (I don't care if it's yet another Ron Rea design. That has yet to ever be a factor in where I choose to dine.)
I also appreciate the reviews cover a range of restaurants and price points, rather than just the latest "see and be seen" to open in Birmingham.
In a city with one of the nation's most exciting food scenes (I do my best to get the word out), MT is the best coverage by far. Tom Perkins' "Bistro bubble" article and Michael Jackman's take on "critics needed" are two of the more recent examples of going beyond the reviews (Jane Slaughter kills it) and scene reportage to analyze what's actually going on.
The recipe from Zingerman's Roadhouse seems a new feature — I really like it, and hope this continues. One request though, if you show something on the plate, please include it in the recipe. Those collards look good as well, and I'd make both if I were doing the chops.
We can, and do, print the word "fuck." Not everyone appreciates that. Bob Z. from Detroit writes:
In the need to demonstrate how "cutting edge" they are, the Metro Times writers must feel they need to throw the word "fuck" into every column. Believe me, the word has lost its shock value. Try to articulate your point without the overused profanity. It only shows your immaturity.
Errata: Our "What's Going On" calendar listing in our Feb. 1-7 issue for the Mixology Fundemantals class at Sugar House featured the wrong address and price. We regret the error.