Bankruptcy Filing Mistakenly Exposes Personal Information Of Detroit Cops, Firefighters

DETROIT, MI &#8211 The city’s historic bankruptcy case briefly exposed the names and home addresses of police officers and firefighters, a controversial mistake that could subject them to unwanted attention or worse.

After The Detroit News reported the creditors list contained the home addresses, the city had the full list of creditors removed from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court website as the city’s lawyers asked the court’s clerk in Detroit to restrict access to the list.

“This request is made because the list incorrectly included personal identifiers. A new list with redactions will be promptly filed,” wrote Jonathan Green, a lawyer for the city, in asking the court to restrict access to the list.

The creditor list has also been removed from a city website that posts court documents.

Late Thursday, lawyers working for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr filed lists of current and retired city workers, including the names and home addresses of police officers and firefighters, some of whom were involved in high-profile scandals. It is unknown whether any of the police officers work in an undercover capacity.

“It is an alphabetical employee list. It should not have included addresses, and it will be redacted in the more complete filings,” Orr spokesman Bill Nowling said Friday.

The controversial information emerged ahead of a Friday news conference by Gov. Rick Snyder at the Maccabees Building.

The exposure also comes on top of plans by Orr to slash pension benefits and health benefits, though Orr’s restructuring plan includes $1.25 billion in spending on public safety and other city services.

Several police personnel are included on the lists filed late Thursday, including Detroit Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens, who declined comment Friday when reached by The News.

“Releasing the addresses of Detroit Police officers to the media is stupid beyond belief. The publishing of those addresses by the media would be beyond stupid” said Steven Fishman, who represents Officer Joseph Weekley, the cop who killed 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a police raid targeting a murder suspect on May 16, 2010, and faced an involuntary manslaughter trial that ended last month without a verdict.

Also on the list: Officers Arthur Dudal and Jose Ortiz, who were sued two years ago by a Livonia man who claimed he was sucker-punched while being escorted out of the MGM Grand Casino — an incident captured on surveillance camera. The Livonia man, Patrick Poisson, recently settled for $125,000.

The “Booty Boys” also are on the list.

Residents in southwest Detroit coined the nickname for cops Michael Osman and Michael Parish, who were accused of conducting illegal body cavity searches. The allegations led to more than $700,000 in payouts by the city.

The list also includes the address of Detroit Police Gang Squad Officer Nevin Hughes. He was allegedly caught on videotape in 2009 beating a suburban college student, had been sued eight times and cost taxpayers more than $677,000, according to court records.

The News profiled Hughes in a July 2011 article that highlighted how he had been sued over a beating during the Downtown Hoedown and accused of illegal searches and seizures, falsifying search warrants and assaulting men at gas stations.

The lawsuits and payouts raised questions about how Hughes had managed to stay on the force’s gang and drug squads despite a pattern of alleged misconduct in incidents dating back 15 years and despite federal oversight governing use of force by police personnel.

In 2011, Hughes’ police conduct concerned Gary Brown, the city councilman who recently resigned to take a $225,000 job helping Orr restructure city operations.

“It raises a lot of concerns,” Brown told The News in 2011. “The city is broke, and we’re paying out millions.”

The list of employees also includes George Orzech, chairman of the city’s Police & Fire pension fund. Orr claims the city’s pension funds are underfunded by an estimated $3.5 billion — a figure disputed by the funds, which unsuccessfully tried to block a bankruptcy filing Thursday.

From The Detroit News

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