Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Cushingberry let off after suspected drinking and driving
Simon Shaykhet , Ronnie Dahl , Jim Kiertzner
6:39 PM, Jan 9, 2014
11:25 PM, Jan 10, 2014
(WXYZ) - Detroit City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry, Jr. was pulled over Tuesday by Detroit Police and what followed has sparked two separate investigations.
According to sources, the councilman refused to get out of the vehicle after an officer suspected he had been drinking and smelled alcohol. We're told marijuana and alcohol was found in the car and that the reason he was initially pulled over was because he almost hit a police car.
We're told a patrol supervisor was called to the scene and shortly thereafter allowed the councilman to leave. Some sources say the two cops wanted him arrested and they were overruled by the sergeant.
Detroit Police said in a press release that officers pulled over Cushingberry Jr. around 10 p.m. on January 7 and gave him a citation for a traffic-related offense before being released from the scene.
Police say that an Internal Affairs Investigation has been launched into the matter. The City of Detroit Office of Inspector General has also said they are launching an investigation into the conduct of Cushingberry Jr .
The Inspector General will issue a report to the Mayor, City Council and Emergency Manager.
Late Thursday night, Cushingberry Jr. responded to the allegations live on 7 Action News at 11. He claims he was leaving a neighborhood bar when he was pulled over. He said he thinks it was because he was black.
He admitted the person that was with him smelled like marijuana, but, he said, it was because his friend had a medical marijuana card. As far as the alcohol, Cushingberry Jr. said there was an old, empty bottle of rum in his car from a few weeks ago. He did admit to having one drink that night, but insisted he was no where near being over the legal limit.
Cushingberry Jr.'s passenger, Richard Clement, spoke to 7 Action News on Friday. He says Cushingberry Jr. was doing him a favor by giving him a ride and that he had one joint on him when the police pulled them over.
"I'm a medical marijuana supporter, patient, advocate," said Clement.
7 Action News had been told the incident was recorded on a police dash cam video. But, today, police said it malfunctioned and does not exist.
Detroit City Council members say this traffic incident is a distraction to their normal business that nobody needs.
The 7 Action News team did some digging into Cushingberry's past. We found records in Wayne County Circuit Court that show Cushingberry faces two new court orders for garnishment of his wages filed just this week. One is for $13,000 the other for $23,000 in his practice as an attorney.
In one of the cases, it was settled in a consent judgment in which Cushingberry agreed to pay and then did not.
Also in 2002, Cushingberry was barred from being appointed to cases in Wayne County Probate court as a Conservator because of mishandling of funds. He has not been back since.