Ex-clerk: Detroit mayor’s wife hit dancer, report said
DETROIT — A retired Detroit Police Department clerk said an exotic dancer whose murder remains unsolved filed a police report in 2002, wanting to press charges against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s wife for allegedly beating the stripper during a party at the Manoogian Mansion.
The claim, made Monday in a federal court filing, alleges that Tamara Greene was sent to the hospital after Carlita Kilpatrick walked in, saw Greene touching the mayor and then beat Greene “with a wooden object.”
Joyce Rogers, 65, of Troy signed an affidavit saying she saw the police report in 2002. The accusations, if true, could put a dent in claims that the party and the beating never took place. On April 30, 2003, Greene was murdered and her family has said top city officials interfered with the murder investigation for political reasons.
City officials have denied the allegations and said there is no proof of a party at the mayoral residence.
“I think it’s nuclear,” said Norman Yatooma, the attorney representing Greene’s family. “It certainly makes it clear neither the party nor the assault are urban legend. It’s just another of the mayor’s legendary cover-ups.”
A Detroit police spokesman said the department was “very interested” in what Rogers said and intends to go through paperwork, apparently to see whether it can find the report.
“We’re hearing about it just like you are,” said Second Deputy Chief James Tate.
Calls to the city’s attorney handling the Greene case, Jeffrey Morganroth, and the mayor’s spokesman were not immediately returned.
Rogers was a senior clerk with the Police Department in 2002, assigned to open and sort inter-office mail. She said she remembers the report because it involved the mayor. Typically, reports involving police officers or the mayor were handled by supervisors and not sent via the department’s mail system, she said.
According to Rogers, Greene alleged that she and two other strippers were dancing at a party at the mayoral mansion when Carlita Kilpatrick arrived unexpectedly. The report claimed that Greene sought medical attention, Rogers said. After looking at it, Rogers said she put the report in the “incoming” basket.
She said she never talked about it with anyone and forgot about it until recently, when Greene’s death and the lawsuit against the city became part of the aftermath of the text-message scandal.
After Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings recently called on residents to help solve the murder by calling Crime Stoppers, Rogers said she called the tip line. No one has called her back, she said.
“I can’t understand why no one came up and said there was a report,” she said in an interview on Monday. “I know the officers who were there know about the report.”
Tate said Rogers called the Crime Stoppers program, which is not handled by the city. Crime Stoppers does not attempt to call tipsters back, he said, to protect their anonymity.
John Broad, president of Crime Stoppers of Southeast Michigan, said it would be difficult to know whether Rogers’ tip was forwarded to Detroit police. He said it “absolutely” should have if it came in, yet said there have been “very few” calls regarding Greene’s death.
Rogers retired in 2002, saying she was forced out. She later filed a sex and age discrimination lawsuit against the Police Department. Yatooma said Rogers was a good employee who was well regarded by her peers.
In October 2002, a sergeant investigating her claim “sustained” her gender discrimination complaint and another police official concluded that Rogers’ supervisor had created a “hostile environment” for Rogers and other women. Despite acknowledging those findings, the city fought Rogers’ lawsuit and disagreed with her contention that she “performed her job competently.”
The federal lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, and the parties settled the case through mediation, said Cary McGehee, an attorney who represented Rogers.
The Rogers affidavit is the latest recollection from former police employees. Ex-homicide Lt. Alvin Bowman told Yatooma recently he believed a member of the Police Department killed Greene. Bowman alleged in a separate lawsuit that he was transferred out of homicide for trying to investigate Greene’s killing.
A day after Bowman’s affidavit was filed, Bully-Cummings said it contained several errors, including the number of bullet wounds Greene suffered. Bowman said 18; the Wayne County medical examiner said three.
Greene was gunned down April 30, 2003, as she and her boyfriend sat outside a home on Roselawn at Outer Drive. In his affidavit, Bowman said Greene’s murder was a contract killing because the shooter had the opportunity to shoot her boyfriend but did not.
Rogers’ and Bowman’s affidavits are part of a federal lawsuit filed by Greene’s family against Kilpatrick, the city of Detroit and other city officials. Greene’s family accuses high-ranking city officials of thwarting the investigation into her murder.
Following a five-week investigation in 2003, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said his investigators could not confirm that the party occurred, labeling it an “urban legend.” The mayor has long denied there was party.
A spokesman for Cox said a joint investigation by the Michigan State Police and the Attorney General’s Office never received a copy of a police report, despite many rumors about the party. “We tracked every one of them down and each one was found to be unsubstantiated,” Rusty Hills said.
As for the mayor, Rogers said she initially thought about his youth; Kilpatrick was 32 at the time. “He just wasn’t thinking. His hormones were thinking,” Rogers said.
The Greene case has gotten a boost since a controversy erupted after the city paid $8.4 million to settle lawsuits with three other former Detroit police officers who filed whistle-blower suits alleging they were retaliated against for reporting or investigating matters related to the alleged party and/or alleged wrongdoing by the mayor and his police bodyguards.
The mayor signed a secret agreement as part of the settlements requiring that text messages he and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty exchanged in 2002 and 2003 be kept under wraps. The text messages, disclosed by the media in January, point to an affair between Kilpatrick and Beatty, and possible perjury after both testified at a whistle-blower trial last year.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is investigating.