Suit accuses Detroit police board of meeting in secret
A judge Thursday ordered the head of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners to appear before him next week for a hearing on a suit accusing the panel of violating the state's Open Meetings Act.
Judge Daniel Hathaway of Wayne County Circuit Court instructed Willie Bell, the chairman of the 11-member board, to come to court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for a show cause hearing to explain why the judge should not issue a temporary restraining order against the board.
A suit filed Wednesday by community activist Robert Davis alleges the Board of Police Commissioners has been meeting privately with high-level staff members of the Detroit Police Department to discuss personnel and business contracts issues.
"It's unfortunate that you have the chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners intentionally violating the law and leaving (the public) in the dark about certain decisions they're making," said Davis, the founder of the nonprofit organization A Felon's Crusade For Equality, and Truth.
Davis said he is "particularly beginning to examine the secretive interactions of certain board members with the administration" and had his attorney send emails to a city of Detroit attorney asking that the board stop meeting in "secret."
Davis said he was alerted to the "secret meetings" by a member of the board.
Created in 1974 by the vote of Detroit residents and the City Charter, the Board of Police of Commissioners is a civilian board which has "broad" supervisory authority over the Police Department. The board meets at 3 p.m. Thursday at Detroit Police headquarters .
A spokesman for the city of Detroit declined to comment.
Bell could not be reached for comment Thursday.