Supporters did their best to spring Henry Dudzinski from the clinker. But Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Isidore B. Torres — who ordered that the 77-year-old rabble-rouser be put behind bars 29 days for wearing a shirt in court that read “Kourts Kops Krooks” — wouldn’t release him.
Earlier this month, Torres convened a hearing in the civil case of Officer Eugene Brown, who is being sued by Arnetta Grable for the fatal shooting of her 20-year-old son, Lamar Grable. Torres was expected to decide whether the city should turn over an internal investigation of three fatal shootings and one wounding by Brown. Grable’s attorney has been attempting to obtain the report from the city for months.
Dudzinski, a member of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality — and a retired Detroit cop — attended the hearing donning the KKK shirt. When Torres asked Dudzinski to remove the inflammatory attire, he refused. The judge held him in contempt and sentenced him to 29 days at Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck.
Coalition members called on attorney Jenipher Colthirst to get their comrade out of jail. Colthirst says that Dudzinski was not trying to influence the court proceedings, but exercising his First Amendment rights. Torres refused to relent.
According to the ACLU communications director Wendy Wagenheim, Torres was well within his rights to sentence Dudzinski after he refused to remove the shirt.
“We certainly believe he has the right to protest, but not inside the court room,” says Wagenheim.
The coalition, which has since held two protests outside the jail, intends to file an appeal, says coalition member Ron Scott.
But Colthirst won’t be handling the case. She says that by the time the appeal wends its way through the courts, Henry will be back on the street. With a little luck, he could be out in time for the next Grable hearing which has yet to be scheduled.Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org