Judge: Detroit must turn over cell phone records in slain stripper case
Detroit — A federal magistrate judge today ordered the city of Detroit to produce cell phone records and other documents within 16 days to a lawyer representing the family of a murdered stripper.
The city must produce personnel files of six city officials, including ex-Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and officers who served on ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s security detail. But U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen will let the city redact personal information and details that could endanger the person’s safety.
Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma, who represents the family of slain exotic dancer Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, argued in a court filing last month that the city has continued to delay turning over certain documents and records sought in the case.
Whalen denied an effort by the family’s lawyers to obtain text messages sent by former federal police monitor Sheryl Robinson Wood, saying the texts were irrelevant in this case.
“It’s a shot in the dark,” Whalen said in court today.
Whalen also ordered the city to produce records that could identify city employees who had a phone with an area code and prefix of (313) 999 and (313) 220. Yatooma said Greene’s telephone records included calls to those prefixes, and prior discovery revealed several phones with those numbers were assigned to city employees.
Whalen limited the timeframe for those records from Jan. 1, 2002, to April 30, 2003 — the day of Greene’s death.
Wood, who was named the federal monitor for court-ordered police reforms in 2003, resigned in July 2009 after the FBI discovered text messages — later deemed by a judge as “inappropriate” — between her and Kilpatrick.
Greene family lawyer Kirkland Garey said he was “very pleased” with the records he was granted access to today.
“I didn’t expect we would get Sheryl Wood’s texts,” he said, adding that the city is trying to obtain those records separately.
Greene, linked to a rumored party at the mayor’s Manoogian Mansion in the fall of 2002, was shot to death in Detroit in April 2003. Her family sued Kilpatrick and the city in 2005, alleging they obstructed the investigation of her unsolved murder.
In a court filing Monday, both sides reported they had resolved only one of several discovery issues raised in the case: identifying all individuals assigned to former Detroit first lady Carlita Kilpatrick’s security detail through 2003.
The city has identified some individuals, has since identified others and will send those names to Yatooma, according to court records.