Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on March 22, 1991 · Page 16
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 16

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Detroit, Michigan
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Friday, March 22, 1991
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Page 16
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l:!S!DE: SECTIOil B Michigan Dateline, Page 5 Obituaries, Page 2 Call City Desk, 222-6600 Road work to delay traffic on 1-75, 1-94. Page 4. Friday, March 22, 1991 JLifl-J II SUSM q?f Watson : LA chief would be packing in Detroit dds and ends . . . Say what you will about those controversial signed letters of resignation that Hizzoner the Mayor demands from his appointees. If the City of Los Angeles had a similar policy, LA Police Chief Daryl Gates would be history by now. Gates has been under fire ever since a gaggle of LAPD's finest was videotaped as they pummeled and , kicked and hog-tied a motorist as he lay on the ground. Politicians, community leaders and civil rights activists have called for his resignation. Mayor Tom Bradley is even urging him to step down. But Gates has decided to hang tough, and there really isn't cuddly squat that anyone can do about it. You see, LA cops are promoted according to civil service guidelines. The only appointed job on the force belongs to the chief. And even he has to rise through the ranks of the department and pass certain tests to be considered for the top job. The LA Police Commission appoints the chief. On paper, the commission is the only body with the power to fire him. But in practice, once a chief is in office, it's darned near impossible to drum him out or even demote him. Unlike in Detroit, where the mayor controls the future of high ranking city officials and police above the rank of lieutenant, the LA police chief has the power to tell the mayor and everyone else to take a hike. And that's what Gates is doing. While the LA system of civil service protection for all cops does have its merits including insulating cops from undue outside political influence it also can breed arrogance and inertia. How else can you explain the fact that Gates is still on the job after saying in the early 1980s that he had a "hunch" that blacks die more frequently from the controversial and later banned police choke holds because "the veins or arteries do not open up as fast as they do in normal people"? So those signed resignation letters aren't all bad. But Hizzoner should never forget that while he wields the power to "appoint and to dis-appoint" city officials, city voters wield the same power over him. Reward grows in Riggs case Speaking of two-edged swords . . . Reward money is pouring in to help capture the killers of that young Operation Desert Storm soldier gunned down this week in Detroit. While everyone wants the criminals punished, I just wonder if the huge rewards in this case mean that we somehow value that brave young man's life more than we valued the lives of the hundreds of other youngsters who also were gunned down in the city without having similar bounties offered for their killers. I also wonder if we are so paralyzed by repeated violence that it takes a tragedy like this to awaken us, to get us riled up. I wonder how long it will be before we go back to sleep and merely sigh when another fine young man's blood runs in the gutter. Saturday tutoring spreads After I mentioned the Saturday School program at Detroit's Woodward Elementary School, three people called to tell me about other tutoring programs. If you know of a tutoring program that works, give me a:call. I'll run a roundup of such programs in an upcoming column so that more of you can get involved. It's great fun, even if it does mean you don't get to sleep late on Saturdays. Roundball fund-raiser Finally, you can sleep a little bit late this Saturday and still help out a feisty young lady who ran city government for a hot minute last year. Her name is Crystal Shaw. She's 10 years old today Happy Birthday, sweetie and she has cancer. You may have read about her last year when she and Mayor Young went on a lunch date. She spent the whole time barking orders at his Hizzoner and his r staff. In any event, Crystal's medical bills are rising. To help offset the costs, Unity Baptist Church and radio station WJLB-FM will hold a basketball game at 11:30 a.m. . Saturday in Northwest Activities Cfcnter, 18100 Meyers. Admission is "$5. State fugitive kills himself Dennis Depue dies hours after 'Unsolved Mysteries 'profile By Jim Finkelstein Free Press Staff Writer Dennis Depue of Coldwater, a murder suspect profiled on NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" show, apparently committed suicide during a shootout with Mississippi police Thursday just hours after the slaying of his ex-wife was re-enacted on television. About 3 a.m. Thursday, roughly seven hours after Robert Stack .tersely narrated the tale of Marilyn Depue's April 1990 shooting death south of Battle Creek, Louisiana police chased a van with a stolen Texas tag. They said the driver refused orders to stop. The driver fled into Mississippi and crashed a roadblock. At one point, Warren County Sheriff Paul Barrett said, the driver fired two shots through the windshield of a patrol car. Barrett said he pulled behind the van and fired a machine gun into the rear of the vehicle as other officers exchanged fire with the driver. Officers rushed the van when the shooting stopped. They found Dennis Depue, 47, dead with "his thumb on the trigger and $16,000 in his pocket," Barrett said. A single bullet from his Ruger .357 Magnum entered his mouth and exited the back of his head, police said. Chief Detective John Dolan of the Warren County Sheriffs Department said the NBC show generated dozens of tips, but Louisiana police didn't know who they were chasing. f . t I JUF-m1 I r i j. i-n,.. I If . 1 '; wwi L f wv. MIKE DOYLEAssociated Press Warren County Sheriff Paul Barrett, left, and Vicksburg Police Chief Jimmy Brooks search for bullet holes in Dennis Depue's van Thursday. Depue, from Coldwater, killed himself in a shootout in Vicksburg, Miss. He said it may have just been a have seen it on TV and decided to coincidence that police caught De- move." pue the same night, though "he may see MYSTERY, Page 3B Engler targets drug-exposed babies 3 s A 'V. 0. I ' m m . - - - - - ; JL ' ' ALAN KAMUDADetrolt Free Press Above: Gov. John Engler autographs 12-year-old Wyatt Brewer's left hand Thursday at Derby Middle School in Birmingham during his trip around metro Detroit. Below, left: Wyatt, a sixth-grader, shows off his prized possession. He has vowed never to wash his hand. s , - r . r-xru 1 i . S I ir-y sL ?V it v.,..,. sx. - ..... ..u-..y.r. :---y Howard Lofland of Highland Park demands an end to state budget cuts Thursday during Engler's stop at the Comedy Castle in Royal Oak. Lofland is a member of the Homeless Union. Group criticizes Medicaid proposal by michele chandler, Patricia chargot And Marian Dozier Free Press Staff Writers Calling the number of babies born exposed to drugs and alcohol "a serious problem," Gov. John Engler announced the creation of a task force to reduce their numbers. But children's health experts wondered about the need, because a similar group already exists. Engler's announcement on Thursday at Southwest Detroit Hospital was made hours after the Wayne County Medical Society complained at a separate news conference that his proposed welfare cuts threaten medical care for nearly one million Medicaid recipients. Engler said his task force might work with schools, churches and others to develop programs to reduce the numbers of children exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. The plan could include drug abuse prevention, education and early identification and treatment for female substance abusers and subsequent tracking of the children. Abouf 15,000 drug-exposed infants will be born in Michigan this year, according to 1988 estimates from the Michigan Department of Public Health, Engler said. Thirty percent of babies exposed to crack cocaine before birth end up in foster care, at a cost of $31,000 annually per child, Engler said. In addition, he said, 18 percent of drug-exposed babies require expensive medical care, at an average cost of $50,000 per child. Vernice Davis-Anthony, director of the Michigan Department of Public Health, will chair the new Michigan Task Force on Drug Exposed Infants. Dr. Ray Heifer, a pediatrician and professor at Michigan State University, was among those curious about the need for a new task force. "It would seem logical to use the one that's already functioning," Heifer said. He was referring to the Child Mortality Review Panel, created by the state social services and public health departments during James See DOCTORS, Page 3B Wrong turn, car trouble preceded death of man, 90 by Maryanne George Free Press Ann Arbor Bureau GREEN OAK TOWNSHIP To avoid freeways, 90-year-old Sam Milan often took Grand River Avenue. But a wrong turn off Grand River , near Milford, more than 35 miles from his home in Detroit, probably led him to his death, police said Thursday. Milan, who was last seen after attending mass at St. Maron Church on March 10, was found Wednesday near the charred remains of his car in a remote industrial park off Silver Lake Road near Brighton. Although police were investigating his death as a possible homicide, preliminary results of an autopsy Thursday showed he probably died of head injuries sustained when he struck his head on the inside of the car, said Green Oak Township Police Chief James Boylan. "It appears this was a tragic accident," Boylan said. "I think he got confused out there, made a wrong turn and drove into the gully." Boylan said the car fire was probably caused by a mechanical problem as Milan struggled to drive it free of mud in which it was stuck. Police speculated that after church, Milan accidentally continued west of Detroit on Grand River to New Hudson, where the road intersects Pontiac Trail. Pontiac Trail continues southwest and intersects Silver Lake Road. Milan's body was found in the industrial park about one-quarter of a mile off Silver Lake. Boylan said it appears that Milan died the night of March 10. There were no signs of foul play. Cash was Fired WCCC employee charged with check fraud Sam Milan found in his pocket and a gold ring was still on his right hand. Milan is survived by a daughter, Mary Nassar; son, Charles; 13 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. Visitation will be 3-9 p.m. today at Charles R. Step Funeral Home, 18425 Beech Daly, Redford Township. A funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Maron Catholic Church, 11466 Kercheval, Detroit. Burial will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit. BY ZACHARE BALL Free Press Staff Writer A 14-year employee of Wayne County Community College has been charged with stealing more than $28,000 from the school by drawing two paychecks for two years when she worked in the accounting department. Dorothy Ann West, 52, was fired in October. In a warrant issued this week by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, she was charged with larceny by conversion of more than $100 between October 1988 and September 1990. West, who has appealed her dismissal through her union, is expected to surrender to authorities today for an arraignment at 2 p.m., her attorney, Ada Montgomery, said Thursday. "I think this is one big mess and it's so sad," Montgomery said. According to a college official, West's salary was $33,000 a year in the accounting department. In a letter to West when she was fired, the WCCC Board of Trustees said "as a result of an investigation by the college it was determined that you improperly and knowingly re- ceived funds of the college to which you were not entitled and failed to j inform the college that you received the funds." WCCC President Rafael Cortada declined to discuss the charges. The case is not related to a recent state audit which found that teachers were padding enrollment figures at the college. Trustees will vote Wednesday on a series of policies ' they hope will help straighten finan- ' i , j I, ii . . ciai ana aanumsirauve pruuienis uiai have plagued the school for years.

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