Judge to review suspended Detroit cop’s report before ruling on bond
Detroit — A judge will review allegations of a police officer’s drug and alcohol use before deciding whether to lower the bond he set after the officer was accused of doing nothing to stop a homicide and thwarting the investigation.
Suspended Detroit Police officer Elijah Lately is also being investigated by Internal Affairs for allegedly giving money to a jailed sex offender, according to testimony Monday in Wayne Circuit Court.
Prosecutors say Lately, a three-year veteran who formerly worked in the 3rd Precinct, knew about a plan to kill Brandon Rice, a Highland Park father of six, but did nothing to stop it. An indictment by a one-man grand jury was unsealed against Lately last week.
Also indicted was Dmarco Hoskins, the man prosecutors allege carried out the April 23 killing of Rice to prevent him from testifying against Hoskins in another case.
During an Aug. 17 hearing, Hoskins was denied bond by Wayne Chief Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny after being charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness intimidation.
Kenny also set a $400,000 cash bond for Lately, who was charged with two counts of giving false statements to police about Rice’s killing. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
On Monday, Lately’s attorney, Gerald Evelyn, asked Kenny to lower the bond for his client, who wore a green jumpsuit with “Wayne County Jail” stenciled on the back, and said nothing.
Evelyn provided Kenny dozens of letters written in support of Lately, including those from pastors and fellow police officers.
“It’s very clear he has very strong ties to the community,” Evelyn said. “He’s not a danger to anyone ... and he understands if he so much as spits on the sidewalk, he’s going to be in trouble.”
Evelyn added his client’s financial situation isn’t ideal, and asked for a personal bond. “I think the court should set a bond that would not involve him needing to leave cash,” he said.
“If you live a life that’s fraught with problems and you have to ask for consideration, you’re not entitled to it. But he’s lived a law-abiding life ... he was a good officer. I think he’s entitled to draw on that.”
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Anna Posigian argued Lately’s bond shouldn’t be lowered.
“The majority of this case is based on a wire and phone records,” she said. “The defendant has shown from the day after the homicide that he lied, and he continued to lie to police about material aspects of this case.
“This case could have been closed. He’s a threat to the homicide investigation, and he’s a threat to the court system.”
Posigian said a relative was recorded telling Lately during a jailhouse conversation, “it’s time to dry out.”
“He spoke with another friend on the phone about having alcohol ready for me as soon as I get out of jail,” Posigian said. “Also, cocaine residue was found in his bedroom during the execution of a search warrant on July 20.
“As far as him being a good cop, there’s an Internal Affairs investigation ... officers are not allowed to socialize with people who have known criminal records ... but the defendant went to the jail in uniform to drop off money for someone who is a convicted sex offender,” Posigian said.
Kenny told prosecutors to provide him with the State Police lab report showing drug residue allegedly found in Lately’s bedroom; and said he also wanted to review the grand jury transcript before rendering a bond decision Wednesday.