Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT
AMERICA PROTESTS-MICHIGAN-POLICE CHIEF
Detroit-area police chief on leave over anti-protest posts
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit police chief has been put on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation into social media posts in which he called for “body bags” for the “vicious subhumans” protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Shelby Township trustees put Robert J. Shelide on indefinite paid administrative leave. The township’s attorney explained that suspension with pay is proper during a pending investigation because all township workers are afforded the same right to due process “and enjoy a presumption of innocence.” Shelide has been Shelby Township’s police chief since 2015. Shelide released a statement Thursday in which he apologized.
Whitmer: Salons open June 15; northern Mich. restarts sooner
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says hair salons and other personal-care businesses can reopen across the state on June 15 after being shut down earlier this year to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, those businesses and places like gyms can restart in northern Michigan next week. The governor on Friday further advanced the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City under her restart plan, effective Wednesday. In northern counties, indoor gatherings of 50 people will be permissible. Outdoor gatherings of 250 will be allowed. The state also for the first time publicly reported probably COVID-19 cases and deaths, not just those confirmed with a test
VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT FRAUD
Michigan halts 340K unemployment accounts over fraud issues
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan says it has halted 340,000 unemployment benefit accounts over concerns about fraudulent impostor claims, though many are legitimate claimants who deserve the money. Jeff Donofrio, director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said Friday that people’s “economic lifeline is now tied up due to this criminal scheme.” Michigan has seen a staggering 2.2 million new jobless claims since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March and businesses were closed to curb the spread of the virus. More than 1.7 million people have been paid. Donofrio says people with flagged accounts were sent instructions to verify their identity.
Parents sentenced for aiding son after woman’s dismemberment
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a man convicted of killing and dismembering a woman in western Michigan have each been sentenced to jail for helping their son dispose of the body parts. Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Denenfeld sentenced 65-year-old Barbara Chance to 45 days Thursday for perjury and for being an accessory after the fact. Denenfield sentenced 78-year-old James Chance to a month in jail for being an accessory after the fact. Their son, Jared Chance, is serving a 100-year prison sentence for killing and dismembering 31-year-old Ashley Young in 2018. James Chance is a former Rock Island, Illinois, police officer.
Michigan Senate: Train police on bias, de-escalation
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would require police to be trained on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques to minimize the use of force. Thursday’s vote came more than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked nationwide protests. The legislation would also mandate, starting in 2022, that officers complete annual continuing education. Michigan is among six states without such a requirement, according to a 2017 report. The measure was sent to the House for further consideration. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined a demonstration in Highland Park Thursday.
Epidemic of wipes and masks plagues sewers, storm drains
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Clogs in sewers and storm water drains are increasing during the pandemic as home-bound Americans are seeking alternatives to bathroom tissue because of occasional shortages, while stepping up efforts to sanitize their dwellings and themselves. Officials in U.S. cities and rural communities — and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — have issued pleas to be careful about what gets flushed down the toilet, as wastewater plant operators report a surge of stopped-up pipes and damage to pumps and other equipment. The outbreak is further strapping local budgets while sharpening debate over whether body wipes are suitable for toilet disposal.
AP-RELIGION-BLACK CLERGY’S CHALLENGES
Pandemic and racial unrest test black clergy on dual fronts
For black clergy across the United States, the past 10 days have been a tumultuous test of their stamina and skills. For weeks, they had been striving to comfort their congregations amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has taken a disproportionately heavy toll on blacks. Then came a coast-to-coast upsurge of racial tension and unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died in police custody. Black pastors have been conferring with police, liaising with activists, and updating their sermons to address the overlapping crises. Said one pastor in Texas, “We’ve got a coronavirus and a racism virus.”
Ex-UAW president pleads guilty to living high life on dues
DETROIT (AP) — A former president of the United Auto Workers has pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to embezzle union dues and spending the money on things such as golf trips, expensive meals and vacations. The government says the scheme netted more than $1 million. Gary Jones appeared by video in federal court in Detroit, acknowledging that he falsified expenses from 2012 to 2017. Jones was a UAW regional director in St. Louis before he became president in 2018. Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. Ten union officials and a late official’s spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017, although not all the crimes were connected.
Study: Autonomous vehicles won’t make roads completely safe
DETROIT (AP) — A new study says that while autonomous vehicle technology has great promise to reduce crashes, it may not be able to prevent all crashes caused by humans. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study questions whether self-driving cars will be able to prevent all crashes now blamed on human error. It says that while autonomous vehicles eventually will identify hazards and react faster than humans, and they won’t get distracted, that’s only enough to prevent about one-third of roadway crashes. The rest of the crashes are a lot harder. Auto safety experts say 94% of crashes are caused by humans.
Mix-up leads to wrong virus results for some prisoners
LENOX TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The Corrections Department says more than 100 prisoners in southeastern Michigan were given the wrong results of coronavirus tests. Fifty-four men were told they tested positive while another 54 were told they tested negative at Macomb Correctional Center. The results were actually the reverse. Spokesman Chris Gautz says the mistake led to prisoners subsequently being housed in wrong areas. The Corrections Department recently finished testing the statewide population of 38,000 prisoners. Ten percent were infected, and 68 prisoners have died, including five at Macomb.