Monday, June 22, 2009

Mayor's Home Invasion/Burglary Solved ?

I am very pleased and relieved to announce that Ferndale detectives have interviewed a person of interest in the April 17th 2009 home invasion of my house, when my car, jewelry, tv, and cell phone were stolen.

According to information received from the Ferndale Chief of Police by me earlier this month, fingerprints from my jewelry box drawer were matched by Michigan State Police to Damion Butler, 23, a convicted felon and parole absconder who was also wanted by Hamtramck police in a home invasion/murder investigation from 2008. The jewelry box drawer had been taken from my bedroom that night, and was found that morning on the kitchen counter, with a diamond ring, gold bracelet and necklace, and diamond post earrings missing.

Butler was taken into custody recently in Hamtramck by police and is to be interviewed today by Ferndale detectives in Covey’s home invasion case. Police officials also told me they will seek a warrent for this man in the case of my home invasion.

I’m so glad this nasty villain is in jail, and I hope they throw away the key. This highly publicized burglary threw my life into turmoil for weeks, and caused stress and anxiety not just for me and my friends and neighbors, but for all the residents of Ferndale. If this guy is guilty of murder as well as home invasion, then my only regret is that Michigan does not have the death penalty.
I would be tempted to throw the switch if they would let me.

Police Chief Michael Kitchen told me that had I awakened that night during the crime that I may not have been around today to talk about it. That was truly a chilling thought.”

Butler was wanted for questioning by Hamtramck police in a 2008 murder of a young man committed during a home invasion in that town. The suspect in that case emptied a handgun into the victim, shooting him six times and killing him.

Butler has been a career criminal for the past six years, beginning when he was 17 years old. He
has at least two convictions for car theft and receiving stolen property. He is also an absconder from parole. He has been in prison at least twice.

While home invasions in Ferndale are according to police reportedly rare, I want to say that no one should have to feel vulnerable from such a crime. I have nothing but praise for the Ferndale detectives and police officers who were professional and efficient in their diligent work. While there was always some hypothesis that this was done by someone I knew, it appears now that that was not the case. Im just glad that no one else was hurt, and no one will have to live in fear of this particular bad guy any further.

Finally, it is all too common for some people to justify many types of crime by finding reasons to find fault with the victim. In my case, some people asked me why I left a door unlocked. I heard from others disbelieve that I had slept through the crime. And others were sure that this was someone who knew my house or had been in my house before. The truth is this guy is a total stranger to me, and to my knowledge I have never met him nor has he been in my house.

I often use white noise to help me sleep, an air cleaner or a fan to drown out the traffic on Woodward or lawn mowers in the morning. In this case, that fan may have saved my life.

Next time you learn of a crime victim, be it someone who was mugged or raped or robbed, resist the temptation to justify the incident as the victim's fault. A woman is not raped because her dress is too short or she was out at night alone. It is not the fault of burglarized home owner because his locks were not strong enough. Blame the person who committed the criminal act.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Motor City Pride Huge Success

Estimates for the total attendance at the 2009 Motor City Pride Festival held in Ferndale June 7th range from 40,000 (my estimate) to 50,000 (Between the Lines estimate), but regardless of the actual numbers, most everyone agrees it was the best ever. The seven hour street festival and party featured concerts, speeches, delicious food, non-profit booths promoting health, religion, political action, and community service. The restaurants and pubs were packed all day and the beer tent was as popular as ever.

Probably everyone's favorite activity during this annual gathering is the people-watching, although most agreed the event was tamer than usual. The feather bedecked drag queens and men in leather were few and far between. The mild weather also seems to have kept the crowds more fully dressed than previous years. Long pants vastly outnumbered the shorts and hot pants common to such summer events.

Reports are that there was only one arrest during the entire event, which is quite low considering the size and length of the festival. Compared to a similar sized concert or festival or DreamCruise day, the safety record is remarkable. Only one person suffered a a personal health incident, again quite low for a day-long summer festival.

The few problems that did occur were the result of a couple of "bad apples". While thousands enjoyed the music and socializing, there are always a few who drink too much, or try and act-out.
After the festival was over, at least one woman had her expensive sunglasses stolen by a youth, and at least one fight broke out later that night outside a bar. Such is human nature and our society.

The Ferndale City Police, the Police Auxiliary, the Public Works staffers, and the Fire Department personnel were magnificent; as is usual they were professional, hard working, and helpful.

The event is about people from a community gathering to have fun and show their pride. In that we succeeded. As this first such festival of our all-too-short summer ends, we look forward to the other annual gatherings that will take place over the next four months.