George Cushingberry Jr. (Clarence Tabb Jr. / The Detroit News)
Detroit— The law license of George Cushingberry Jr. will be suspended next month for 45 days under a settlement reached to resolve a grievance filed by a former client, an attorney for the councilman said Tuesday.
Todd Russell Perkins said the State Attorney Discipline Board issued the order Monday imposing the suspension for Cushingberry beginning Feb. 18.
Perkins said the deal was reached without a formal hearing. The former client claimed he compensated Cushingberry for services, but the 61-year-old city council president pro tem didn’t fully deliver. Cushingberry pleaded no contest to the professional misconduct claims. To be reinstated, he must pay $500 in restitution to the ex-client and attend a professional workshop, according to the order signed Monday.
“It was not (the result of) a trial on the merits,” Perkins said. “We decided to resolve the situation and not necessarily contest the issues.”
Perkins on Tuesday also called the decision of the city’s police chief to not charge Cushingberry in connection with a Jan. 7 traffic stop that involved alcohol and marijuana and sparked two separate internal investigations “something to be positive about.”
Chief James Craig Friday provided new details of the incident, in which Craig said Cushingberry twice tried to elude police officers attempting to stop him near a northwest-side bar.
At the time, Cushingberry allegedly had a half-smoked blunt in his car’s center console and a cup of liquor on the passenger’s side floor, Craig said.
Craig launched an internal investigation into a supervisor’s handling of the incident. Craig said that investigation continues, but thus far suggests that the councilman was given “preferential treatment.” The supervisor will be disciplined, but not terminated, Craig has said.
Cushingberry was not arrested or given a field sobriety test; he was issued a traffic ticket. He did not provide his driver’s license or proof of insurance and his registration was expired by one day, Craig said.
The findings of the department’s investigation have been turned over to Detroit’s Inspector General’s office.
Cushingberry has claimed he was targeted for being black. But Craig has denied that claim, noting one of the officers who pulled Cushingberry over was black, the other was Arab-American.
Staff Writer George Hunter contributed.