Half of the eight mayoral hopefuls on Detroit’s primary ballot next week have been convicted of felony crimes involving drugs, assault or weapons, a Detroit News analysis shows.
Three were charged with gun crimes and two for assault with intent to commit murder. Some of the offenses date back decades, the earliest to 1977. The most recent was in 2008.
Political consultant Greg Bowens said there are candidates with past hardships in every election cycle. It’s not something unique to Detroit or the political arena in general, he said.
“Black marks on your record show you have lived a little and have overcome some challenges,” said Bowens, a former press secretary to Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and NAACP activist. “They (candidates) deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important elected position.”
Tuesday’s Detroit mayoral primary election is the first since the city exited bankruptcy in 2014. The field of eight will be narrowed to two who will face off in the fall.
Under state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office as long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of certain fraud-related offenses, or crimes involving a breach of the public trust
In 1977, Pitts was convicted of receiving and concealing a stolen 1977 Oldsmobile. She was sentenced to a year of probation.
A decade later, she was charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder and two firearm offenses in connection with two separate shooting incidents on March 24, 1987, Detroit Recorder’s Court records say.
But hey, if stolen guns isn’t what you are looking for in a Mayor, check out Danetta L. Simpson who has a 1996 felony conviction out of Oakland County for assault with intent to murder. Sounds like another Simpson who just got free!
By Comparison, candidate Articia Bomer is a lightweight in da Hood,. She was charged in 2008 with carrying a concealed weapon.
Curtis Christopher Greene was charged with a felony at age 19. Greene, an author, said he’s since turned his life around by earning marketing degrees from the University of Phoenix and writing three books.
But Greene, now 32, said his past continues to hold him back. He struggles to find employment and wants to implement programs that will help ex-offenders, like himself, facing similar challenges.
“I came from a crime-ridden area,” Greene said. “My life, I believe it was very complex growing up.”
Greene was charged in 2004 with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police during an attempted traffic stop in Harrison Township as well as delivering and manufacturing marijuana.
He was sentenced to 18 months’ probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, meaning his conviction would be dismissed if he met all probationary requirements. Under the agreement, the fleeing and eluding charge was dropped, Macomb County Circuit Court records show.
Greene violated probation in July 2005 when he was arrested and charged with uttering and publishing a fraudulent check in Gratiot County, a felony.