DETROIT (WXYZ) - Action News has learned that former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans recently made an attempt to get his job back as the city’s top cop by exposing personal text messages between the department’s interim chief and a lieutenant whom Evans is currently dating, according to city officials.
Attorneys for Evans met with Deputy Detroit Mayor Saul Green inside city hall in late July to present him with copies of text messages sent from interim Chief Ralph Godbee to Lt. Monique Patterson, according to Deputy Mayor Saul Green.
“They were of a personal nature,” says Green, who sat down with Action News reporter Bill Proctor for an exclusive interview about the text messages. “They were personal emails between the chief and Monique Patterson… they indicated that there was information they had that they thought we needed to look at.”
In July, Action News first reported on the romantic relationship between Evans and Patterson. Their relationship, as well as Patterson’s history of misconduct, contributed to Bing’s decision to remove Evans as chief.
Evans’ attorneys suggested that Mayor Bing should be so concerned by the existence of the texts that the city should re-hire Evans as police chief, according to Green.
The texts supplied to Green, said to have been collected over several months, were only those sent from Godbee to Patterson on his private cell phone. Green requested texts sent by Patterson, but they were never provided.
“I think in fairness, you want to see the other half of those conversations,” said Green.
Two days later, Green was visited by attorney David Robinson, who represents Lt. Monique Patterson. Robinson said the text messages put the city in a “problematic position,” according to Green, and that the city “ought to make them an offer.”
No offer was ultimately made to either Patterson or Evans, but Wayne State University Law School professor Peter Henning says he is troubled by the exchange, even though he does not believe an attempt was made to extort the city.
“It probably comes close to the line,” said Henning. “It is saying to a government official, here’s what we need to do to keep information secret so that a former official can get his job back.”
In a statement to Action News, interim Chief Godbee apologized to his family“… for what might have been in the personal text messages.” He said it was clear this was an attempt to“… misuse these text messages to strike a deal with the City of Detroit.”
Mayor Dave Bing also issued a statement, saying Godbee will stay in place as interim chief, and will be considered for the permanent role. Action News asked for an interview with attorney Dave Robinson. He consulted with his client Lt. Patterson before responding, "No comment."
Attempts to contact Evans and his attorneys were not successful.
Green says he and city attorneys are so concerned about Robinson's request to "make an offer" to Patterson that they have asked the State Bar of Michigan to look into possible ethical violations.
Green says he has heard back from the State Bar, but he did not want to disclose details at this time.
Stay with Action News and WXYZ.com for the latest details in this developing story.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E.W. Scripps Company
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