Council aide apologizes for Patterson slam

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit City Councilman George Cushingberry Jr. backtracked on Wednesday after an aide posting under his name called Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson a ‘drunkard’ in a Detroit News comment thread. The aide who wrote the remarks issued Patterson an apology.

The comment was made on a story about a teacher “sickout” at Cass Technical High School, which forced the school to close on Tuesday. Cushingberry is a Cass Tech alum. Cushingberry aide Richard Clement has taken responsibility for the posting.

WDIV-TV reporter Priya Mann sought out Patterson for his reaction to the post.

Patterson, who pleaded guilty to a 2003 incident where he was caught weaving in traffic in his county-issued Cadillac, told Mann that “I thought George was a friend, but you find out who your friends are over time.”

After one commenter asked if Cushingberry would be apologizing for the postings, which included telling a different commenter that “this is no time to be an imitation Donald Trump,” Cushingberry’s account responded “Apologize? Hell no!”

But it was a different story Wednesday.

On Cushingberry’s “Friends of George” blog, Clement shouldered the blame.

“Mr. L. Brooks Patterson will be receiving a phone call and a personal visit from (Clement) apologizing for offending him by calling him a drunkard in social media,” the post read. “The comments made by me in response to the trolls insulting the integrity and leadership of Councilmember Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. in social media with unprofessional names was inappropriate at a personal level.”

But by the end of the post, Clement called for arrests and misdemeanor charges “if anyone in a public position says that teachers are overpaid.”

“Furthermore,” Clement continued, “public school teacher’s health care costs should include the use of Medical Marijuana to treat the PTSD conditions of the job.”

The blog post ends with a hypothetical that played on the “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets that were popular in the 1990s.

“W.W.C.Y.D. if he had social media available?,” the post asked. “What Would Coleman Young Do?”

jdickson@detroitnews.com