Protesters Cry Racial Injustice in Teen's False Police Report Case
Oak Park 18-year-old is charged with misrepresenting a drug-buying deal gone bad as robbery, but supporters say he's a victim of racial profiling.
About a dozen supporters of an Oak Park teenager charged with filing a false report with Ferndale Police on Monday protested his case outside Ferndale's 43rd District Court on Monday, calling it an example of racial profiling, but police stand by their investigation, the Daily Tribune reports.
Ferndale Police took a report from Stephen D. Wright, 18, in which he said someone stole his cell phone and $20 on Dec. 13 near the West Nine Mile bus stop on the south side of the street.
Two days later, a Ferndale couple reported used a gun to rob them near a Shell gas station on Eight Mile Road.
“After interviewing these alleged victims it turns out these were dope deal rip-offs, not random on-street robberies,” Ferndale Police Lt. Detective William Wilson told the Tribune at the time. “The so-called victims were scammed out of money trying to buy marijuana.”
The Tribune reported Ferndale Police arrested the suspect involved in the drug deal scam. The police also arrested the two parties involved in falsifying police reports, which is a misdemeanor.
Police later arrested and charged a suspect in the scams who they say told them what happened.
The couple plead guilty to filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.
Wright's grandmother, Marcina Cole, told The Tribune she believes her grandson was railroaded. "I feel it was racial profiling,” she said. “I feel this case would have been dismissed if he wasn’t black.”
Ferndale Police Chief Timothy Collins disputed Cole’s allegation. Wright “reported a crime and we investigated the alleged crime. ... He can ask the judge to make a determination whether we acted improperly and we would be happy to have that review.”