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DPD Chief: Looks like Councilman Cushingberry was given 'preferential treatment' during traffic stop
11:05 AM, Jan 24, 2014
7:53 PM, Jan 24, 2014
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry, Jr. appeared to have gotten "preferential treatment" when police pulled him over earlier this month.
The officers involved in the stop called their supervisor to the scene, which is protocol when an official is involved in a traffic stop. That supervisor is Sgt. William Carter, according to sources. The internal investigation is into the actions of Sgt. Carter not the other officers.
Craig said Sgt. Carter took over the traffic stop and is to blame for failing to gather evidence after Cushingberry and his friend, Richard Clement, were pulled over after leaving a bar.
Craig revealed that when the officers approached the car they noticed a strong odor of marijuana. The Chief said that the officers saw an empty alcohol bottle, as well as a cup half full of alcohol in the car. Craig said the officers found four marijuana joints in the car, and one of them had been smoked. Clement is a medical marijuana user, but police say pot can't be in the main part of a vehicle.
According to Craig, six officers in all responded to the scene and they all followed protocol.
The Chief also said that Sgt. Carter told four of the officers to leave before he asked them what happened. They told the Chief that Carter did not show up to the scene for about an hour.
During his news conference, Craig said Cushingberry first identified himself as a council member and showed his Council ID. However, he did not show his driver's license, and offered no proof of insurance. In fact, Craig said, Cushingberry's vehicle registration was expired by one day.
Cushingberry was also not given a field sobriety test.
"Clearly, in our minds, we will never know if the councilman was under the influence," said the Chief.
Craig also said that Cushingberry gave "very little cooperation" to the officers during the stop.
The Chief also said that given what happened, it "looks like the Councilman was given preferential treatment."
7 Action News asked the Chief if Sgt. Carter was a friend or family member of Cushingberry, and the Chief said he does not believe that to be the case.
7 Action News contacted Carter last week, but he declined to comment.
Cushingberry's passenger Richard Clement, a medical marijuana patient, had marijuana on him at the time. He told 7 Action News that the marijuana was returned to him. Chief Craig said Clement had four marijuana cigarettes on him at the time of the incident.
Carter had the officers cite Cushingberry for failing to use his blinker when he made a left turn.
Carter was required to report the incident to his superiors. Craig said their was no notification made of any supervising officers, including a lieutenant and a captain who were both working on the night of the incident. They learned about it when the officers' police report reached an assistant police chief.
Chief Craig said the investigation into Carter's actions is continuing and that he will face disciplinary action.