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Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle

Kwame Kilpatrick (left) and Sam Riddle at the Manoogian Mansion

Kwame Kilpatrick (left) and Sam Riddle at the Manoogian Mansion

Jury still out on real corruption

Mind snacking over a small oatmeal in a large Clique bowl, I was wondering just how the already tabloid-trending Detroit media would sensationalize the Kilpatrick verdict.

Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan National Action Network and a confidant of the erstwhile Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of NAN, was fooling around with one of those dumb azz smart phones streaming the breaking news on a really too-small-to-look-at-screen of Kwame Kilpatrick’s-already-decided-on-Friday-but-we’ll-let-ya-know-on-Monday-just-how-guilty-we-believe-the-bastard-to-be, diverse-jury-verdict.

Yep, it’s like that.

The demonizing role of the media in this Detroit Corruption Saga has been major but some of us gave them a lot to work with.

Mainstream media had no problem finding folk in other Detroit cholesterol/gluten-laden feeding centers to go on air with declarations of “Guilty, at last! Guilty, at last! Kwame is guilty at last!” KMA. There is not a damn thing to rejoice about.

Earlier, in the darkness of the Lodge Freeway headed north, a few hours ahead of the news that the diverse jury had reached a verdict, I was a passenger en route to observe a pop-up “flash protest,” anti-EFM civil disobedience traffic slow down on the South Lodge.

Rev. Williams’ two-seater released a geyser of funky steam from under the hood, sputtering to a spasmodic stop on a very narrow strip alongside the expressway, inviting other vehicle contact as bullets with wheels were only an arm and a half away from whacking us.

Unbuckling, I removed myself from what I was sure would soon be twisted metal and Lodge carnage. I’ve come too far to go out like that, so I backed as far from the car and highway as I could while Rev tinkered under the hood. I couldn’t believe he didn’t have old-school duct tape that can handle any roadside emergency.

Suddenly, I could hear the silence of the South Lodge. There was absolutely no traffic coming toward us on the other side of the concrete divide. Hmm, it appeared the anti-EFM Flash Protest was probably pissing off decent folk that plan to do nothing about Gov. Snyder’s anti-democracy rendering-Detroit-Black-votes-meaningless move. It’s always the decent folk that do nothing as neighbors are led off to trains and concentration camps. Then they come for the decent folk. Yep.

We should thank the father/son team of Rev. Bullocks for pissing off decent folk trying to get somewhere while democracy grinds to a halt in Detroit. Thank you.

Black Americans have had to have the 13th, 14th, 15th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and a now-endangered Voting Rights Act to secure citizenship and the right to vote. When you tamper with our right to vote, it IS a big deal, justifying me risking all as I climbed onto the Rev’s ride standing on the trunk to snap a picture of an empty Lodge during morning rush hour.

After three frustrating swipes, I managed to engage the camera feature on my state of the art phone wondering if the FBI could rip off the pictures from this device the way they had captured some 21,000 of my conversations from a now techno-obsolete model. Let it go, Sam, you’ve done the time. Besides, now there are the drones.

Television and radio broadcasts were starting to report news of the EFM Flash Protests on I-94 and the Lodge but they would be short-lived.

A Facebook and Tweet post: KK verdict makes everything old news. Yep. EFM protests were old news in a media nano fade.

That day of the verdict, pressing “share” on my Facebook page, I posted a picture of me and then Mayor Kilpatrick during his first term at the Manoogian Mansion as the band played on.

There were well over 100 “likes” for that picture and these words shared with my Facebook family: “Who knew the pain ahead? Pain for Detroit. Pain for those that love us. Pain for all that we have disappointed. Detroit deserved better. Through God’s grace one may serve yet. Thank you Jesus, through you redemption is mine.”

But when will the Big Azz corruption-enabling multi-national too-big-to-fail corporations and 2 percent endure prosecutions? They buy politicians everyday worldwide. The jury is still out on corruption.

It’s corrupting arrogance for Gov. Snyder to ignore the vote of the people of Michigan against emergency managers and in a tyrannical move inflict his will upon a people that have screamed “NO!” This rape should be addressed by a real Department of Justice.

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle currently serves as political director for the Michigan National Action Network and is a life member of the NAACP. He can be reached at or

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