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Detroit police increase park patrols after stabbings

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Police have stepped up patrols in several northwest Detroit parks in the wake of an incident last week in which two women were stabbed while dozens of onlookers cheered and shot cell phone video.

Detroit Police have stepped up patrols in several northwest Detroit parks in the wake of an incident last week in which two women were stabbed while dozens of onlookers cheered and shot cell phone video.

The stabbing, which reportedly began when two women fought over a parking space, happened April 9 at Rouge Park in Detroit’s 6th Precinct. There are several parks in the area, and Precinct Cmdr. Aric Tosqui said the incident prompted him to immediately increase patrols.

“I set up (a) detail for the parks the very next day (after the stabbings),” Tosqui said.

Shadivia Phillips, 21, on Tuesday was charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, and felonious assault in connection with the alleged stabbing of a 30-year-old Detroit woman, whose injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Police were trying to identify a second woman who also was stabbed. She reportedly drove from the scene in a black Buick.

Several videos of the incident were posted on Facebook, Tosqui said. The video reviewed by The Detroit News begins with two women trading blows, as a crowd closes in on them. Many people filmed the fight amid the sound of cheers, while some stood on vehicles in an apparent attempt to get a better view of the combatants.

The stabbings were not captured in the video reviewed by The News, although Tosqui said one of the stabbings was filmed.

“I know people are wondering what we will do (in response to the stabbings),” Tosqui said. “You’ll see a definite presence of police looking to deter such activity.”

Rouge Park has long been known as a hotbed of drug sales and prostitution, prompting one resident two years ago to put up signs that read, “our park is for playing, not mating.”

The 6th Precinct is home to two large parks: the 1,300-acre Rouge Park, the largest park in Detroit; and Eliza Howell Park, which is 200 acres. There are several other smaller parks and playgrounds in the precinct, including the Simanek playfield, Mansfield-Diversey Park, Weaver-Penrod Park, Fitzpatrick Park, Fitspatrick-Warwick playground, and Stoepel Park #1.

The purpose of the stepped-up patrols, Tosqui said, is to ensure families can enjoy the precinct’s parks without fearing for their safety.

“We aren’t going to patrol the parks with the mindset that we have to ticket and arrest everyone,” Tosqui said. “To the contrary, I’d prefer us not to have to take any enforcement action.

“But if keeping our parks safe for kids and families means that disruptive people go to jail, well, then, that is the choice they forced us into, and we will take appropriate actions.”

ghunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN