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Pattern and practice


Detroit City Council member Sheila Cockrel was not happy last week when Police Chief Benny Napoleon failed to submit a report to council regarding the recent deaths in Detroit jail cells. Last January, the council requested a report after two people died in police lockups; Cockrel said Napoleon was to determine whether there is a pattern to the deaths.

For background reading while waiting for the Napoleon report, News Hits suggests “Death in the lockup” (MT, Sept. 15-21, 1999); the article reported that 17 people died while in police custody between 1992 and 1999. The number is apparently at least 21 now.

Gerarda McCarthy, executive assistant to Mayor Dennis Archer, said the report will be ready in early March.

“This may be a pattern and practice called stonewalling,” said Cockrel.

“That’s a longtime pattern,” added City Council President Pro Tem Maryann Mahaffey.

Napoleon could not be reached for comment.

News Hits was written by Ann Mullenand edited by W. Kim Heron. He can be reached by phone at 313-202-8004 or via e-mail