Saturday, February 16, 2008

Poster Child for the Failure of Black Political Accountability

I lived in Metro Detroit for eight years, a time span that included Mayor Archer's second term and Kwame Kilpatrick's first. Detroit has been the nightmare scenario of white flight, ineffective black political rule, racial polarization and urban decay for better than 20 years. The city has a history and well known status as the most segregated city in America. Sadly, that racial legacy and present day context has been the excuse for a low standard of accountability when it comes to Detroit's black political leadership. The latest embarrassment is the now publicly outed sordid extramarital affair between Mayor Kilpatrick and Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.

It was an affair those in the know and among Kwame's security detail knew about and one of those open secrets the rest of the city suspected. It became public knowledge for sure when text messages were revealed which confirmed the affair. The seeds of Kwame's undoing began with a pair of police officers that sued him and the city for alleged violations of the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act. The suits were brought by Officer Harold Nelthrope, a former mayoral bodyguard, and Gary Brown, a former deputy chief who previously headed the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit. Brown says he was fired for letting members of his unit investigate Nelthrope’s allegations and Nelthrope said that Kwame violated whistle blower laws by outing him and slandering him in retaliation.

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