Detroit ordered to turn over cell records in Tamara Greene lawsuit

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A federal magistrate today ordered the City of Detroit to turn over more information to the family of Tamara Greene, the slain stripper said to have danced at a wild party at the Manoogian Mansion.

But Magistrate Steven Whalen said the city didn’t have to turn over incoming or outgoing text messages for five individuals — former mayoral bodyguards Mike Martin and Loronzo Jones, Police Officer Paytra Williams, who has denied dancing at the party, former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and Sheryl Robinson Wood, the former court-appointed monitor who oversaw reforms at the Detroit Police Department.

Whalen questioned the relevance of the text messages, especially for Robinson Wood, adding that he and another magistrate reviewed more than 600,000 such messages last year and found only a few dozen that had any possible impact on the family’s lawsuit against the city.

He questioned how Robinson Wood, who resigned as monitor after authorities discovered she had inappropriate contact with former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, could have any involvement in the Greene case.

But Whalen ordered the city to produce cell phone billing records so the lawyers for Greene’s family can try to identify city employees who may have called Greene’s cell phone in the months before her death, personnel files for Martin, Jones, Williams and Bully-Cummings.

The family said Greene received several calls from the 313-999-XXXX and 313-220-XXXX calling prefixes and they want to find out who contacted her.

Whalen also ordered the city to turn over payroll records for former police dispatcher Sandy Cardenas, who said in an affidavit that she dispatched patrol cars to a disturbance at the mansion in the fall of 2002.

Birmingham lawyer Kirkland Garey, who helps Greene’s family along with attorney Norman Yatooma, said he was pleased with Whalen’s decision.

City attorney John Schapka declined to comment.

Schapka said in court papers that the requests were burdensome, irrelevant and that some of the information had already been provided. Whalen gave him 16 days to produce the additional information.

Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2003, several months after she supposedly danced at the party. Her family says Detroit police deliberately botched the investigation so her killers couldn’t be sued over her death.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has repeatedly denied that the party ever occurred or that his wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, assaulted a stripper at the bash.

Pre-trial discovery in the case ends Sept. 15. The city and a lawyer for Kwame Kilpatrick plan to ask U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that five years of litigation have failed to turn up any evidence that police sabotaged the investigation into Greene’s death.

http://www.freep.com/article/20100902/NEWS01/100902041/1319/Detroit-ordered-to-turn-over-cell-records-in-Tamara-Greene-lawsuit

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