Candidate criticized for advising cops to shoot first

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — Remarks by a City Council candidate in the wake of police confrontations with citizens across the country are sparking controversy.

An online post on a Facebook account allegedly for Joe Judnick, who is running for a seat on the Sterling Heights City Council, say there are “blacks wanting to kill cops” and urges police officers to shoot if they are confronted.

“Without a doubt it is blacks wanting to kill cops. My advise (sic) to all police. When there is any doubt ... shoot!,” read the comments posted Tuesday around 11:16 p.m.

Judnick, who is running in the November general election, could not be reached for comment.

In a video from a 2011 City Council candidate forum, Judnick said he has worked for 31 years in small business; is the owner of Blue Ribbon Products, a butchering and taxidermy business on 191/2 Mile; and was past president of the Andover Heights Condominium Association.

He said that if he were elected he would cut the pay of city administrators, fight blight, bring blue collar jobs to the city, restore city services and vote only for a balanced budget.

Democratic political consultant Joe DiSano, who has a brother-in-law on the Sterling Heights police department, called Judnick’s comments “dangerous.”

“This is spewing gasoline on an already dangerous situation,” DiSano said Wednesday. DiSano said Judnick’s comments could be construed as a “shoot first” policy.

Joseph Munem of Sterling Heights, who is a Republican precinct delegate, said: “Mr. Judnick’s comment is ridiculous and unsuitable coming from a candidate for city council.”

Judnick’s alleged comments come on the heels of several high-profile and deadly police contacts with African-Americans in cities across the nation — including Detroit and Inkster — where police have been accused of excessive force and charged following questionable tactics during stops and arrests of African-American men.

The post is the latest controversy to hit Sterling Heights, a city with a diverse population of about 131,000 residents. Previously, the city turned down a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would have included the LGBT community.

Political observers say Judnick is aligned with the political slate of Paul Smith, who has been accused of anti-Muslim views and making racially charged comments about President Barack Obama.

Last week, a national American-Muslim civil rights organization accused Smith of making inflammatory and offensive remarks against Muslims in an email in 2010 following the Park 51 controversy over building a Muslim community center near the old World Trade Center site in New York City.

“We are highly concerned someone can hold such bigoted views in a city with a growing American Muslim population,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid in a press release about the alleged remarks June 4.

Smith could not be reached for comment. His wife said he has been mischaracterized by the media.

DiSano said Wednesday Sterling Heights is a changing city and “public opinion has to have its way” and “beat down” the political rhetoric of people such as Smith and Judnick.

“It’s an embarrassment for Sterling Heights,” he said.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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