Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press
Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press
Bukowski arrested and charged
Freelance journalist Diane Bukowski, whose byline appears frequently in far left The Michigan Citizen newspaper, was convicted May 1 2009, on two felony charges stemming from her involvement as a reporter on the scene of a deadly police chase in Detroit on Nov. 4.
Bukowski was arrested as she attempted to photograph the grisly scene and after a state trooper yelled to her, “Who the f**k do you think you are?” Police confiscated her camera, deleted her photos and claimed Bukowski had crossed yellow crime-scene tape, which she denied.
Bukowski was originally charged with one misdemeanor count of obstructing an investigation. But Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Bukowski with five felony counts that totaled a possible sentence of 20 years in prison. The prosecutor’s office later dropped three of the charges.
Bukowski and The Michigan Citizen, a Detroit-based weekly "addressed to African Americans and the progressive community", had a history of successfully fighting for access to public documents from the prosecutor’s office in police brutality and murder cases. Bukowski had written dozens of stories "chronicling police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct and police murders in Detroit. She is well-known in the community as a strong anti-racist fighter and reporter on issues involving foreclosures, utility shutoffs and union struggles".
The "railroading" of Bukowski on "trumped-up charges aroused strong community support from unionists, political leaders and community organizers who formed the Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press. Bukowski and her supporters say this is a clear-cut case of retribution by the cops and prosecutor for her role in exposing the many injustices of the criminal justice system."
- Every anti-racist and progressive activist in Michigan has a stake in the final outcome of this case.
Diane Bukowski defended
She was sentenced to probation, community service and fines following a trial ending May 1 2009, on two felony counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer.
In a hearing Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 trial Judge Michael Hathaway granted Bukowski’s motion for an evidentiary hearing and scheduled it for Dec. 23.
“It was a significant event in the process of vindication,” Attorney John Royal said following the hearing.
Bukowski was tried on charges stemming from a doubly fatal accident following a police chase of a motorcyclist and a pedestrian hit during that chase, Nov. 4, 2008.
- One of the strongest issues on appeal, Royal said, was that Judge Beverly Hayes-Sipes, who presided at the preliminary hearing, dismissed all charges against Bukowski that crossing the yellow accident scene tape constituted resisting and obstructing. Hayes-Sipes bound Bukowski over only on allegations that she had physically resisted being arrested and hand-cuffed.
- The prosecutor never appealed the Hayes-Sipes ruling, Royal said, yet at trial, Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski tried her and the judge instructed the jury to consider whether she had crossed the yellow tape as constituting resisting and obstructing.
- Crossing the yellow tape was an issue that was not properly before Judge Hathaway, Royal said. “No one brought that to the court’s attention. It is one basis for arguing ineffective assistance of counsel.”
- Royal explained he thinks that after the prosecutor saw the Channel 2, Fox News video tape of the accident scene, which caught the arrest and handcuffing of Bukowski on tape, that there was, from his perspective, clearly no evidence of Bukowski resisting the officers.
Supporters of the Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press included;
- The Michigan Citizen
- Publisher, Catherine Kelly
- Editor, Teresa Kelly
- U.S Rep. John Conyers
- Detroit City Cncl. Pres. Monica Conyers
- Pres. Pro-Tem JoAnn Watson
- frmr. Councilwoman Attorney Sharon McPhail
- Det. Sch. Brd. Mbr. Marie Thorton
- Alabama NAACP Pres.Ed Vaughn
- former Judge Claudia Morcom
- State Rep. Lamar Lemmons, Jr.
- Lamar Lemmons III
- State Sen. Hansen Clarke
- Leamon Wilson, Pres.AFSCME 312, Co.25 Reg. IVP
- John Riehl, Pres.AFSCME 207
- Shawndrica Simmons, Pres. AFSCME 3309
- David Sole, Pres. UAW 2334
- Phil Schloop, Bus. Mgr. OEIU 547
- Dempsey Addison, President APTE
- Cecily McClellan, Vice-President APTE
- Michigan ACLU
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Jonina Abron, frmr. edtr. Black Panther Party Newspr
- John Woodford, frmr. editor/chief, Muhammad Speaks Newspr.
- Labor Notes
- Urban Network Bookstore
- Charles Simmons, Prof. Journalism & Law, EMU;
- National Lawyers Guild (Detroit chapter)
- Attys. Matthew Abel, David A Robinson, John Royal, George Washington, Tom Lavigne, Gary Benjamin, Marilyn Mullane, Tom Stephens, and Hugh Davis-(Buck)Davis
- Bukowski Tax Serv; Mark Bukowski & Cecilia Bukowski
- Jean MacNall
- Gloria Aneb House
- Derek Grigsby, Chr. Det. Green Party USA
- Peter Solenberger
- Margaret Gutshall
- Fred Vitale; Teppert St. Blk.Clb.
- Richard Clay: MAAS, BlackBoysinCrisis.com;
- Aziz Adisa Masai, M.Ed;
- Roderick Casey, Pres. PODUE
- Call ‘em Out
- Agnes Hitchcock
- James Cole
- William W. Smith
- E. Ray Hendricks
- The Highland Park Movement
- Citizens Against Corrupted Politicians
- Sandra Hines/ Cltn. to Restore Hope to DPS
- The Detroit Peoples’ Task Force to Investigate Crime Labs
- Steve Conn, teacher;
- Heather Miller, teacher
- Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
- Moratorium NOW!
- Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice
- Detroit Solidarity
- Current for Change
- TheNew Marcus Garvey Movement-Black Panther Nation
- The Universal Contact Center Church, EPAC
- The Raging Grannies of Metro Detroit
- City Cncl.cnd. Karinda Washington
- Johnny Washington
- On the Corner
- Bill Wylie-Kellerman, St. Peters Episc.
- Greg Frazier, Jan Frazier & Khary Frazier
- Jim Sheehan
- Wayne Bernard
- Orig. Det.Cltn.v.Police Brutality
- Arnetta Grable
- Herman Vallery
- Cornell Squires
- Minister Malik Shabazz
- Ron Hereford & Darleen Hereford
- Starletta Banks
- Judy Roberts family
- Eula Powell
- Lily Wright
- Brenda Kirby
- Clarice Werdlow
- Cheryl Williams
- Valerie McKinstry
- Catherine Jones
- Nancy Lightbody
- General Laney
- Dorothy Robinson
- Terrance Collier
- Maureen Sheahan
- Kris Kaul
- Cheryl LaBash
- Bryan Pfeifer
- Elisa Gurule
- Russ Bellant
- Al Benchich
- Ron Lare
- Tom Olechowski
- Gwen Mingo
- Gene Cunningham
- Tim Hall
- Kitty Kahn
- Mike Shane
- Debbie Johnson
- Irene Lee
- K. Richard Blount
- Jessica Labumbard
- George Corsetti
- Marge Parsons
- Lorna Mason
- Reginald Trotter