Monday, November 17, 2008

Appeal to Defend Reporter Diane Bukowski; Detroiter Faces Five Felony Charges


STATEWIDE, Michigan- It is urgent that you take immediate action. I have known Diane Bukowski for over 30 years as an honest, hardworking activist and reporter. Do not delay- call, fax or email Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy demanding she drop all 5 felony charges against Diane Bukowski (see full info below).

DETROIT AREA - Come to court to support Diane Bukowski tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 1:30 PM at 36th District Court (421 Madison).

David Sole

See information and article below and please take immediate action, as Diane's arraignment is Tues., Nov. 18, at 1:30 p.m. Contact Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy and demand the 5 felony charges against Diane Bukowski be dropped immediately:

Phone no. 313-224-5777
Fax 313-224-0974

Email via contact page at:

In the first drop-down screen, select "other" and in the second drop-down screen, select prosecutor's office. Type a short message such as:


I urge Prosecutor Worthy to drop the five felony charges against Diane Bukowski, reporter for The Michigan Citizen newspaper. This is an outrageous attempt to silence the media and let the police operate with impunity. This illegal frame-up is an attempt to suppress constitutional rights and the community will not tolerate it.

signed, your name

On Sun, 11/16/08, Diane Bukowski //* wrote:

Subject: Reporter Diane Bukowski facing five felony counts for covering story on deaths of two during police chase

Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008, 10:32 AM

Friends, this is Diane Bukowski, who has published articles since 2000 in The Michigan Citizen regarding police brutality, killings by police, and the failure of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to pursue charges against Detroit police officers who kill, among numerous other issues. I am now seeking your support. I am being arraigned Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in 36th District Court on FIVE FELONY COUNTS of assaulting, resisting and obstructing police officers while I was doing my job. Needless to say, these charges are completely FALSE. I need your support in court, as well as contributions to my legal defense fund, which is currently being set up.

I was arrested Nov. 4, election day, at the scene where two white State Troopers allegedly rammed the bike of a motorcyclist whose bike than ran into a pedestrian, killing both (SEE ATTACHED ARTICLE FROM THE MICHIGAN CITIZEN). I took photos of the scene, namely of two yellow tarps which covered the body parts of the motorcyclist and his crushed motorcycle.

That scene was also shown from the air by a TV 2 News helicopter. I had earlier identified myself as a reporter, showing my ID to both the arresting officer, Trooper Barber, and her superior. When I got into camera range to take the photos (not stepping through any yellow crime scene tapes), Trooper Barber screamed at me from across East Davison and immediately told me I was under arrest. She then seized my camera and erased the photos. I was handcuffed and hauled into MSP headquarters on W. Grand Blvd. The request for a warrant from the MSP appeared to have been on one count of obstruction, but it came back from Worthy's office as five felony counts, with Trooper Barber as the complainant in all five.

I am including the text of the story on the two men killed in this incident in text form for those who do not have Microsoft Word:

*Motorcyclist, pedestrian die in police chase*

By Diane Bukowski

Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — A Detroit motorcyclist returning from the polls Nov. 4, was allegedly hit by two Michigan state troopers during a chase on the city's northeast side. The impact of the crash pushed him into a pedestrian who was also killed, then into a pole, according to one eyewitness.

The incident happed on the city's northeast side, at East Davison and Justine. According to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office, the cyclist's right arm and shoulder were severed, his skull and brain shattered, all his ribs were broken, and his liver was damaged, among other injuries. The coroner ruled accidental death.

The motorcyclist was James Willingham, 42, a father of 10 children, and the pedestrian was Jeffrey Frazier, 32, an autistic young man. Both men grew up in the neighborhood around East Davison and Justine where they died, and were known and loved by hundreds, according to their families and friends.

"I was sitting on my porch and saw the whole incident," said a grandmother from the neighborhood who did not want to be identified.

"The police rear-ended the motorcycle and the man on the motorcycle lost control and hit Jeff, then the driver flew off the motorcycle into a pole."

This eyewitness said that the troopers' car had no siren on.

"Kids were walking home from school"

"It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and kids were just walking home from school," she said. The intersection was crowded with pedestrians.

Another witness separately confirmed that the state troopers' car rammed the cyclist. Both witnesses said the troopers' car had no siren on.

The Michigan State Police Detroit Post #29 issued the following statement:

"On Nov. 4, 2008 at 3:32 p.m., Troopers from the Michigan State Police Detroit Post attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a motorcycle for a moving violation in the area of E/B Davison and Conant. The motorcyclist slowed after emergency lights were activated then accelerated from the Troopers at a high rate of speed before running a red light and striking a pedestrian walking across the intersection.

The collision resulted in fatal injuries to the pedestrian and the operator of the motorcycle. It was later reported the motorcycle was stolen out of the City of Detroit. The pursuit lasted approximately three city blocks."

Debo, a motorcyclist who was riding with Willingham, said Willingham was not speeding. Police also reported that the bike was stolen, but Debo believes Willingham did not steal the bike, because he was present at the purchase. Both men belonged to the Phantoms' motorcycle club.

"We were just on our way from voting," said Debo. "I was playing around on the Davison freeway to see what speed my bike would do. James was following behind, because his bike couldn't go that fast. I noticed the police right behind me and immediately started slowing down to about 45 mph, and James caught up. I thought the troopers would pull me over and ticket me, but instead they shot around me, bumped their horn, turned on their top light, and ran up behind my brother James."

Debo said he did not witness the actual crash because he had fallen behind and was stopped at a light.

"James worked at Chrysler for over 20 years painting cars," said Tamika Carter, Willingham's girl friend and mother of three of his children, ages 15, 7 and 2. He also had three children with his wife Karen Willingham.

"When his brother died in 2003, he got so depressed he went on medical and never went back," said Carter. "[Instead,] he became a stay at home dad, so that I could go to school and work. He took his skills from the plant and worked on cars for friends."

Carter said Willingham looked after his children. She said he was extremely proud of two of his older children who are in college.

Paul Broshay of the law firm of Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux said Willingham's family members have consulted their firm and they have an interest in the case, but that probate issues have to be resolved.

Frazier: "He was our angel"

Frazier's family and friends said the young man, who was autistic, was known as "Tank" and loved throughout the entire neighborhood. He took his neighbor's trash cans to the curb, and made a regular job out of collecting bottles and cans from the streets, all the way from Ryan to Mound. Merchants in the neighborhood knew exactly when he was coming to clear their areas.

"He loved doing that," said Frazier's mother, Charlotte Ann Frazier. "He graduated from the Burger Center in Garden City, a school for autistics.

All his teachers were so proud of him. He never missed one day of school, and he never missed one Sunday in the Open Doors Baptist Church and Greater Concord church. He was our angel."

Frazier had three brothers and two sisters.

Attorney Carl Collins III is representing the family of Jeffrey Frazier.

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