MLive reporter Gus Burns and I started covering this story back in 2016 following the deaths of two police officers within 3 months in Detroit, including a WSU officer who was shot to death while protecting my own neighborhood. This is the reporting that followed.

“Mental illness played a role in 30 percent of Michigan police officer killings in the last two decades, according to an MLive analysis of police reports, court records and newspaper archives.

Of 43 officers killed in homicides since 1998, 13 were slain by people who suffered from or showed signs of mental illness, the analysis found.

Conversely, 38 percent of civilians killed by police in the last five years, 33 of 87, were diagnosed with or exhibited signs of mental illness.”


Full Reporting:

Dead cops, dead civilians: The price of unchecked mental illness

A cop killers unchecked mental illness and the lives it destroyed

Mental illness played a role in these 13 Michigan cop killings

In September, MLive reporter Amy Biolchini and myself traveled to Portland, Oregon to take a look at Oregon’s legalized recreational marijuana program and how it compares to Michigan’s recreational marijuana proposal set to go to the polls on the November ballot.

The proposal passed with 56 percent of Michigan voters saying “yes” to the marijuana legalization initiative.

Recreational marijuana became be legal in Michigan on December 6, 2018.

Full reporting:

An ounce of wisdom from Oregon as Michigan considers legalizing marijuana

5 surprises about visiting a city with legal marijuana

Emotional goodbye at Michigan airport as woman deported after 30 years in U.S.

After 30 years in the U.S., where she raised three children, worked and paid taxes in Sterling Heights, Zahrija Purovic, 50, was put on a plane and sent to Montenegro on Thursday.

Despite no criminal record and a pending motion for a stay of removal in federal appeals court, immigration authorities ordered her to pack her belongings, purchase a plane ticket and appear at Detroit Metro Airport.

Upon arriving with family members and friends around 4 p.m. Thursday, two ICE agents told Purovic that she had not been granted a stay, and escorted her to her flight.

Story written by Dana Afana.

Childhood memories from Detroit 1967: ‘It was war’

What Venita Thompkins remembers most from July 1967 is her Easter dress.

It was cut from pristine white cloth, adorned with frilly lace, complete with a set of even purer white gloves.

Her mother was wary of giving her chocolate for fear that she might sully the spotless garment. On Easter morning, as her family went to church, Thompkins’ mother stashed the treats in her purse.

It was hot then, as hot as it is in July 2017. The chocolate melted, and when she ate it, Thompkins got it everywhere.

She never got her dress back – it was burned to a crisp at the local cleaners, one of the first casualties of destruction and looting on 12thStreet in the Detroit 1967 riots.


Looter in Detroit 1967 riot: ‘You can only be held down for so long’

A rebellion: That’s what Frank Thomas, like many longtime Detroiters, calls the riot of July 1967.

To most observers, a riot is a riot. It was senseless violence and opportunistic looting.

For Thomas, it wasn’t that simple.

It was an uprising; a vent for homebrewed rage simmering in the black community for years.

Cops remember Detroit 1967 riot, racial divide that persisted

Tom Robinson never wanted to be a police officer.

But he was broke and unemployed, laid-off from his factory job in 1963.

Eventually, an unemployment counselor insisted he apply to join Detroit police force.

“He said, ‘you want your next check?'” Robinson recalled. “‘Then you’ll take that exam.'”

After two attempts, Robinson became a Detroit cop stationed at the city’s 10th Precinct.

By his own account, the retired 79-year-old sergeant picked a hell of a time to join the force.

Four years later, at 3:30 a.m. on July 23, 1967, police raided an after-hours club at the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue.

Written by Ben Solis.

Story: Robotic suit makes paralyzed Metro Detroit crash victim feel ‘strangely normal’

Shannon Henry, 21 of New Boston, was able to walk for the first time since her accident with the help of REX, a robotic walking device on trial at the Detroit Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. “I haven’t walked in three years, it’s kind of weird,” said Henry. “Sometimes you forget what it is like to walk.”