Apr 23, 2001
Recent law suits and FBI homicide statistics prove what many people in Detroit knew already: that the Detroit police have been regularly arresting people who did nothing –illegally holding and interrogating them for hours or even days before releasing them. While in most big cities an average of roughly one person per homicide case is arrested, since 1996 an average of almost three people have been arrested in every such case in Detroit. The police say the extra people were witnesses.
But in every state, including Michigan, arresting alleged witnesses to a crime is illegal unless the police have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person was involved in a crime themselves. The police are supposed to convince a judge within 48 hours after arresting someone that they have evidence that supports such a "reasonable suspicion."
These restrictions on police arrests were designed to stop the police from forcing someone to falsely testify against another person. After long hours of confinement and interrogation by the police –not to mention brutalization –some "witnesses" "remember" things that they never heard or saw just to gain their release from jail. Some people even "confess" to crimes they never committed.
In case anyone wonders, these high arrest figures don't mean the Detroit police solve more crimes. FBI statistics show the Detroit police end up identifying fewer homicide suspects than most other big city departments.
But it is obvious that many people who never did anything are being convicted on the basis of false testimony by witnesses who have been coerced by the police.
And that, people in Detroit also knew already!