accused drug dealer killed by police in ypsilanti

Last night, at about this time, a man here in Ypsi was shot and killed by an undercover officer with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team (LAWNET). The details are still a bit sketchy, but it would seem as though a drug deal outside The Keg party store went bad. According to witnesses, three to four shots were fired. The accused drug dealer, David Antjuan Ware, 29, died on the way to the hospital. Another suspect was struck by a police car, treated at the hospital, and then turned over to the Washtenaw County Jail.

As of right now, it’s unclear what went wrong and why shots were fired. None of the accounts that I’ve read have, for instance, mentioned the suspects having fired at the officers. One thing that does seem certain, however – things are changing for the worse here in Ypsilanti, at least relative to crime.

I’m not sure how much it can be blamed on jail overcrowding, but it does seem to me as though we’re not doing ourselves any favors by making it known that those caught while perpetrating “non violent” crimes will be let go. It seems to me to be common sense that once it becomes known that breaking into someone’s home, for instance, is no longer a jailable offense, that more of those crimes will happen. Furthermore, it seems that such an environment would breed individuals capable of worse than petty theft and drug dealing. It may not be the case, but it seems to me that crime is rising. A few days ago, it was rape and robbery and today it’s gun play in the streets. Of course, the facts may tell a different story. I suppose it’s possible that violent crime is actually falling, and that these few recent instances don’t point toward a larger trend. Hopefully, City Council member Brian Robb with step in with the statistics, as he’s done in the past, to either confirm of deny that things are getting worse. The last time I wrote about crime on this site, he sent the following numbers:

Total assaults in JUL-OCT 2006 are 167, up from 124 during the same timeframe in 2005. [+34.7%]

Total burglaries in JUL-OCT 2006 are 113, up from 108 during the same timeframe in 2005. [+4.6%]

Total larcenies from vehicle in JUL-OCT 2006 are 151, up from 97 during the same timeframe in 2005. [+55.7%]

Total robberies in JUL-OCT 2006 are 27, down from during the same timeframe in 2005. [-18.2%]

Total stolen vehicles in JUL-OCT 2006 are 33, down from 38 during the same timeframe in 2005. [-13.2%]

Maybe it’s just the proximity of this death that’s got me spooked — the thought that if I walked down to Arcade Street right now that I could probably still see blood in the snow. I could have easily been right there last night as the shooting was happening. I thought about going to College Inn (a little pizzaa shop that’s located in The Keg’s parking lot) to pick up a pizza last night, but instead decided to throw a frozen one in the oven. As I would have gone at about 8:00, I wouldn’t have been in any danger, but the thought that I could have caught a stray bullet if I’d gone an hour later does kind of make me wonder what it might be like living in the woods somewhere. I know that you can’t escape violence in today’s world, but when I think about my two year old daughter, it makes me want to at least try.

This entry was posted in Ypsilanti. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. mark
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    And, I didn’t mention it in the post, but a big part of the story is the economy. I suspect it’s got as much, if not more, to do with the crime we’re experiencing than jail overcrowding.

  2. mark
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I also didn’t mention it in the post, but, if you’re interested in this story, keep an eye on the Topix dotnet Ypsi forum. I suspect it will heat up in the coming days, and probably turn ugly, just as it did after the 2006 murder of a motel worker here in town.

  3. mark
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Also, on the subject of The Keg, it’s worth noting that it had the distinction of winning a 2003 poll conducted by Steve and Hillary Cherry on “creepy Ypsi party stores.”

    (In defense of The Keg, there are others that are far creepier.)

  4. mark
    Posted January 24, 2007 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    A few questions: Why didn’t our local police know that LAWNET was conducting operations here in Ypsilanti? Why were shots fired in a residential neighborhood, especially if the officer, or officers, were not threatened? How many busts have been made at, or around, The Keg in the past six months? What, if anything, have the owners of The Keg done to discourage drug dealing in their parking lot? I have a lot more, but that’s a pretty good start.

  5. cswilba
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Well, you helped me rule out moving to our rental house two doors down from the Keg.

    For someone whose entire life has been turned upside down by this economy, I can see how people without the support that my family has been receiving can get desperate. Since my husbands income dropped 60% last year, I have been looking for a part and/or full time job for months and have been fighting for entry level low paying shit jobs that I could have done a week after my high school graduation. And I have solid work experience and an education.

  6. mark
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The neighborhood isn’t really that bad actually. I know people that live just a few houses away from The Keg and they really like the neighborhood… So, I’d hate it if you didn’t follow through on your plans just because of this incident.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but word is that the drug dealing activity has moved to the area because the police have been cracking down around other party stores. Perhaps an increased police presence here – which is bound to happen after an incident like this – would move them on again.

  7. dorothy
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    this is disturbing on so many levels. i can’t imagine living with that sort of stress. i lived my whole life in philadelphia and got used to checking locks and being careful about dark alleys. then i got married and moved to this quiet community of amish farms and non-violent episcopalians, now i’m spoiled. when you’re the only one involved it’s easy to blow off random violence, but when your loved ones are in danger, it’s a different ballgame. i traveled in laos and thailand during the vietnam war and didn’t worry a whole lot, because who was involved? only me. after i had children, safety became a whole nother issue. i can’t imagine having someone as vulnerable as clementine at risk. or for that matter, having her lose you or lynette. it’s not only our loved ones at risk, but also THEIR loved ones. for years i mourned my beloved philadelphia, but it was a really good tradeoff. think about it!!!

  8. oliva
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I’m feeling tongue-tied this morning but do want to speak out about this. It’s tricky because we don’t know the “facts” yet, so it could be that the young man who was killed had a weapon and that the undercover officer’s life was in danger and that the shooting that killed went awry. BUT it could be otherwise. And this is a residential neighborhood. The Keg sits along the way between our many homes and places like the park, the Farmers Market, the Corner Brewery–we walk these roads and sidewalks every day (dodging broken glass, alas, new installments every day). Children walk around here all the time, students . . . It feels, and this is in advance of those facts and just viscerally, that LAWNET was armed with too little information and sensitivity. The Keg may be a shady place, but sharing the lot is the very sweet College Inn Pizzeria, where my neighbor had gotten her family’s dinner just hours before the incident. We all walk down there regularly and to the park, cutting through the Keg parking lot.

    What to do? Take it all very seriously, as conditions do seem to be unraveling ’round here lately. To think it was all starting to feel so good just a year ago, with our wonderful neighborhood association forming, flowers being planted, more neighborliness . . . and good work and care by Chief Harshberger and the Ypsi police.

    For now, waiting for the fuller story. And cherishing what is very good in this neighborhood, including those $5.99 walk-in specials at College Inn Pizzeria!

    Take care, everybody–

  9. t.d. glass
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    From today’s Ann Arbor News:

    Man killed by police was shot 6 times, family says

    Medical examiner and police not releasing details

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    News Staff Reporter

    Official details remain sparse, but a man killed Tuesday night by a narcotics officer during an undercover drug buy in Ypsilanti was apparently shot multiple times as he ran from police.

    The family of David Antjuan Ware, 29, of Ypsilanti, said he was shot six times, at least once in the back. Several witnesses say they heard multiple gunshots as police chased a man from the parking lot of the Keg Party Store on North Huron Street onto Arcade Street, where he eventually collapsed.

    State Police Lt. Garth Burnside said Ware was fatally shot by an unidentified officer from LAWNET, the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement team, after the undercover drug buy somehow went bad. Another man, Burnside said in a press release, was injured when he was hit by a police car.

    Family identified that man as Maurice Moore, 25, of Ypsilanti Township, who was treated at a hospital and released to police. He was expected to be charged with unspecified crimes at the Washtenaw County Jail today.

    Burnside refused to release further information. Washtenaw County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller said he would not comment on an open investigation.

    A neighbor who lives across the street from the party store told a reporter he heard multiple shots, looked outside and saw a man kneeling in the parking lot and a car peeling out of the lot. The neighbor, who would only identify himself as Mike, said the man fell flat onto the ground, then got up and ran across Huron Street onto Arcade Street with what he later learned were undercover police officers in pursuit.

    On Arcade Street, a single-block side street running from North Huron to North Adams Street, a woman and her 14-year-old son said they heard the shots at the party store. They hit the floor, the woman said, but then got to their knees and looked out the windows.

    She and her son said at least two undercover police officers chased Ware up the street. The teen said Ware shouted something, then he heard the police yell for the man to stop. Then one officer, he said, fired repeatedly at Ware as he continued to run.

    Merlin Hargrove, Moore’s mother and a cousin to Ware, said Ware was engaged to be married, and has six children. She said her son is married and has a 2-year-old daughter.

    Michigan Department of Corrections records indicate Ware served time from 2000 to 2003 for delivery of cocaine and from 1997 to 1998 for unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

    Washtenaw County Medical Examiner Bader Cassin this morning said that police asked him not to release any information from the autopsy he conducted Wednesday.

    But Rhonda Witty, a cousin of Ware’s, said Wednesday that her family was told at the morgue that Ware was shot twice in the chest, twice in the leg, once in the groin and once in the back, in a shoulder blade.

    “He probably was involved in a drug deal. And there is no way I condone the fact that he may have played a part in this,” Witty said.

    But, she added, shooting Ware six times seemed excessive. She said that if tests indicate Ware had or fired a gun, “then I can understand.” But failing that, she said, she wants an explanation.

    The family, she said, “would just like to know what happened. I’m not condoning what David did. We just want to know the truth.”

    OK, where do we start? So much to talk about. He was 29 with six kids. He’d been in prison before. It looks as though he may have been shot in the back while running away. Failures on every level.

  10. we can run...
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    To dorothy in particular, and the mood of leaving problems behind in general – I understand the motivation, but I respectfully disagree.

    I used to live in quiet, peaceful farmland, an hour from the nearest big city. There were no local cops – 911 got you the State Police. Eventually.

    You know how, in The Sopranos, when they want to off somebody, they take them out in the countryside and shoot them? Turns out that actually happens. There you are, enjoying your quiet evening in the safe, quiet countryside, when a car pulls into the driveway, and a suspected informant is shot in the head. (Comes out in the trial that he was told they were going to rob a drug house – so his getting shot in our front yard was preferable to the alternative.) The neighbors, of course, are far enough away that they probably don’t even hear the shots, and, if they do, they assume somebody’s out back hunting. And, when you call 911, you’re left to sit for the 30 minutes it takes for the police to show, not knowing what’s going on outside, locked in an upstairs bedroom with the lights off.

    Sure, it never happens out in nice, quiet farmland. Until it does – and from then on you have to call home saying, “Okay, I’m getting off the freeway now – I’ll be pulling in in a few minutes,” so that they know it’s you, and not a carload of folks who heard there was a drug house out here.

    To each their own comfort level, but I’ve had it with the “safety” of the country. (Need I mention the meth labs, fatal car-deer collisions, hunting accidents, people driving 20 over on rural highways, passing trucks on blind curves, and killing people you know?)

    I’ll take the safety of this town, thanks: the one time I’ve had reason to call 911 in Ypsi – a false alarm – I had somebody arrive in about 2 minutes. My neighbors can see my house, and know who lives here. My parents ran away from the problems of the city, but if we run away, we just let those problems fester, and eventually they’ll catch up with us. I don’t feel any less safe here than I did when I lived way out yonder, and I prefer the amenities that Ypsi has to offer.

    Yes, this was a bad scene, especially with the info has in that last comment. I really want the State Police to step up and explain what happened, and why. But am I going to be frightened out? No. I’m going to stay right here and do what I can.

  11. Andy
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The police have certainly been cracking down on Brandy’s Liquor Store across from my house. Don’t think the dealers aren’t armed. A guy took a pop shot at another guy on January 2nd at Brandy’s hitting a car pulling on to Michigan Ave.

    In the summer at 5pm a drug deal went bad and guys where running down our street shooting at each other. I was outside trimming hedges when it happened.

    It sucks when shots are fired by anyone. I can only hope that the more people on the streets will make the dealers move somewhere else. Like from Brandy’s to the Keg!

  12. robr
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    We can run: I hear you, brother! I’ve lived in one of Ypsi’s “more troubled” neighborhoods since ’94– Although crime is certainly around me here, more or less nightly, since I’ve been living here– My worst ‘trouble’ personally? A stolen snow shovel, back in ’97…..

    Rob, on the south-side with weekly gunfire serenades…..

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Just wait, some city and elected officials will run around saying we need a City Income Tax or the council will have to cut police officers. They will try to scare you into believing that your life is at risk if you don’t approve the City Income Tax and there is no other choice.

    There are choices, and as neighborhood associations the first thing you should be doing is meeting with those NA that have been dealing with these problems for years. Because even when we had 54 officers on the force, we still had these problems on a daily basis. You are seeing the problems that folks in Midtown, Historic Southside, Miles, Prospect Gardens and Heritage Park are dealing with on a daily basis. You need to meeting with these other NA’s and realize that their problems are your problems.

    When I was on the campaign trail, I was over on the Westside and I asked during a meeting what was the big city issues. They said leaf pickup and frozen leaves in the margins. Someone in the crowd then asked me what were the issues in my neighborhood on the South Washington

    I said drugs and prostitution. There was stunned silence and I realized that I spoke too quickly. I then spent the next hour talking about the issues facing HSSNA, Midtown (which is getting brutalized right now) Heritage, Miles and Prospect. Lets see just in my house. Stuff stolen from my yard. Two strangers fighting on my porch. Needles in the garden. Condoms in the yard. Broken glass in my yard. Trash diapers, food wrappers. Cars broken into numerous times and items taken. Found stolen items on my porch which means they used the light of the porch to run through stuff to take and dump the rest. Stolen property including clothes and CD’s stashed under bushes. They do that and come back several hours later to pick it up after the cops have left the scene. Drugs. Pot and crack. Drug paraphernalia. Strangers in the house and garage. Guests and family members solicited for prostitution, to buy stolen goods, and drugs. Tools stolen from locked rooms. Construction materials stolen. Drug raids next door ( I ended up buying that house to stop the problems.) Gun shots. Verbal assaults and threats. One guy who we watched doing a drug deal said I see you watching, I will be back for you. We still called the cops. Countless number of arrests in front of the house. Stolen vehicle recovered in front of the house. The list goes on. This is just one house, my house on South Washington.

    The Westsiders were stunned. Most folks had never been on the south side. They had no idea this sort of stuff went on on a daily basis in the city where they lived.

    I have watched resident after resident come to City Council and plead for help. They were ignored. Community meetings are held and then the stuff starts right back up. The fault is not the police.

    It is a failure of our elected leadership to grasp the problems and help neighbors work to long term solutions. Community meetings and telling Lawnet that you don’t want them in your neighborhood is not going to help. You can tell them to leave, but I can tell you, we tell them we want them to stay. If we have an empty house or an apartment they can setup a stake out if they want.

    We want them in our neighborhood. And while they are here we introduce them to the neighbors, kids, families, and businesses owners. We tell them we need their help, we are good people, we don’t want this crap, we didn’t ask for it, and please help us. And then we ask what we can do to help ourselves. It means reminding neighbors to always lock cars and homes. Know your neighbors and their friends cars. Always call the police if something seems out of place. And much more.

    I hear in these emails and some have said that they want to tell MSP and Lawnet to stay away, you don’t want these drug buys going down in your neighborhood. I can tell you, as easy as that is to say, it is the wrong thing to say.

    So Mark, I disagree, the problem is not that we are talking about the problem, it is we are not talking enough about the problem.

    The crooks know within the hour when the jail is on lock down. They don’t read these blogs or newspapers. They have their own street network called Boost and Nextel.

    Talking about this is not going to tip off the bad guys. Not talking about it will make it easier for them to flourish.

    We don’t have the solution down here in HSSNA or at these other NA’s but we have been where you are right now. For us it was a popular and well known 10yro girl in our neighborhood who was raped just outside the library. If was the daughter of a well known elected official who was kidnapped and then dumped in our neighborhood.

    It was the shooting where the bullets went through a second house. The frequent drug raids and police chases. And the never ending burglaries that is really getting old. And then looking out and seeing the same drug dealer, the same prostitute you saw the day before. Not to mention the speeding, loud music, and blowing through stop signs.

    Gosh after listing this, Why do I live here? Oh yeah, I remember, I have great neighbors.

    But instead of just giving up we stood up and said enough.

    There is more work to be done, but we are making a difference, together we can make a difference in all our neighborhoods. I stand and we stand ready to help, but we can’t second guess an officer whose life is on the line that three bullets is enough and 6 was excessive.

    Until you have had a gun pointed right at your head by a dope head and you realize that person does not care if I live or die, he only wants the money for his drug habit that you realize how utterly helpless you are in that situation. It happened to me when I was in college working in a bookstore. The guy came in and held a gun to my head. he was shaking so bad the gun barrel was bouncing off my head and I could see his finger wrapped around the trigger. When I was 12 a old man in a beater station wagon kicked my bike over in front of a 7-11. I yelled hey. He reached into his car and drew out a shot gun. All the while his wife is pleading, screaming for him to get back into the car. I was also robbed once when I was a store clerk with an implied weapon. I have a very different and much greater respect for what a cop goes through when they, the fellow officers or a neighbor (especially a kid) is threatened with deadly force.

    When you are faced with making the choice to use deadly force, there is no difference between one bullet or 10. The decision to use deadly force is one of the most difficult decisions we entrust our officers to make and in just a split moment, the wrong decision could be fatal for the officer or a citizen. And either way killing someone is devastating for the officer and their family. Most officers go there entire career never having fired a shot at a suspect. To be responsible for having killed someone, even justified, is something very few of us will thankfully never have to deal with.

    But dead is dead. It seems cold but it is the truth. We can later debate whether the use of deadly force was appropriate. That will come after the investigation.

    But don’t second guess the officers decision by criticizing how often they shot or there was a bullet in the back. Lets wait for the facts. I have seen where a crack head high on dope can take 10 to 15 shots to the body and still keep moving, still swing a weapon or fire a gun. I am not saying this is the case, but lets wait for the facts before w work ourselves up into a frenzy.

    The family members were not surprised he was involved in drugs. Well why the hell didn’t someone from his family do something about it before he needed up dead. It isn’t Lawnet to blame, they are responding the to the problem. It isn’t the neighbors that live by the Keg. The fault lies with the individual who made the choice to deal drugs and the family members that knew there was a problem and did nothing.

    In the mean time, as a community, we ought to be talking more and sharing info between neighborhood associations. We don’t have the solutions, but we have been dealing with these problems for quite some time, that experience can help.

    Your neighbor,

    – Steve

    P.S. Mark, you said you would find it difficult to walk on Arcade. You should walk by Arcade in fact anyone reading this should. Because remember the people on Arcade are your neighbors, they are not lepers. They did not ask for this shooting to occur. But they are all questioning why they live in Ypsilanti. Give them a reason to stay.

    In all the craziness, the one truly helpful thing right now for someone that lives on Arcade or nearby would be to see neighbors walking on the street, not staring or pointing at the place where the suspect fell, but neighbors saying hi to their neighbors. If you really want to make a difference. Invite everyone over for a potluck dinner. Don’t talk about the shooting, just talk about being neighbors. There will be time to talk about the shooting, but get together because you are neighbors, not because someone was killed earlier this week in you neighborhood. Take a moment from the blogs and go say hi to one of your neighbors.

  14. murph
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Mark is my neighbor. Wonderful when you can both blog *and* say hi to your neighbors! (Heya, neighbor…)

    Steve, I hear what you’re saying, and would like to note that, besides a few people who live close enough to have been at risk from stray bullets Tuesday night, I haven’t heard people calling for Lawnet to keep out of our neighborhood. I think a lot of people want to know what happened, though. Under what circumstances do officers end up chasing a suspect through a neighborhood, guns blazing? You mention that there’s no difference between three bullets and six, when an officer’s life is on the line. I can agree with that. I’d like to know: was the officer’s life on the line? Did the suspect fire on officers? Did the suspect have a gun? So far, I haven’t seen the answers to these. I haven’t seen a consensus among my neighbors that Lawnet should keep out – I think I have seen a consensus that we don’t want undercover officers running through the streets firing unless they really really have to…so, did they really really have to in this case? I expect there are probably answers we can’t have – there are questions I’d ask that Lawnet probably can’t answer without putting officers at risk in the future. But I’m still interested in asking.

    Meanwhile, I’ve often told people that I’m glad I live in a neighborhood where crime is not the all-consuming topic of neighborhood association meetings. I like having potlucks before our NA meetings (yes, we do have potlucks with our neighbors!); I am tickled that both Chief Harshberger and Councilman Robb have expressed amazement at the number of NA parties and picnics we have. I think we’re doing a good job of “getting together because we’re neighbors”, and, hey, sometimes it happens to provide a forum in which to discuss scary things that happen, and that’s cool too.

    Vice-Chair of RNA through a failure to decline the nomination fast enough

  15. egpenet
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Steve is right. I’ve asked before, where is all this paranoia coming from? Why is there shock and awe that Pfizer has fizzled? Why is there horror that Ford reported the worst quarter in their history? I have picked up so many needles, condoms and booze bottles in and around the RAC (it WAS worse before the RAC), but it continues. It takes only a few puffs under the metakl stairs at the RAC to burn up a rock of crack … and then it’s back on the street.

    The difference is that Steve and I, as neighbors, do these things. We clean up. We call. We report these activites. This is OUR town. And it’s Ned’s town, too, the owner of the Keg. He had added new lighting to help deter some of the activity. He knew what was going on and tried to DO something. I’m sure he’s cooperating with LAWNET and the City. Ned is from Baghdad, and KNOWS the good, the bad and the ugly. He likes this neighborhood and has greatly improved the merchandise, service and area around The Keg. But he has no control over what happens outside, exceept to shoo it away, or call … just like us. The man Ned rents the College Pizza place to is from Jordan. His family is there and he’s here, saving money to bring them here.

    Folks here are having terrible problems. I’ve had friends at Pfizer laid off last year, and a new client who moved to Dexter from Kalamazoo just lost his job in Ann Arbor. And the poor get poorer. Anybody watch the Oprah special on PBS last night? I want to know what is happening in our town betweeen the time a kid goes through Perry School and the time the kid gets on a bus for their first year at Ypsi High. How many generations are we going to kiss off on our streets and alleys or on the streets and alleys of Erbil or Sadr City beforee the moms and dads of this country say NO’MO’!

    I know from my family geneology wheree I get some of who I am, and Oprah discovered through her geneology who she is. But it was clear in the program that it was her step-father from Nashville who laid down the law and get her to knuckle down at school and appreciate herself. I was a teacher and saw the results. I was a parent and saw the results.

    Neighbors … we have to be better neighbors , and we can DO just that through active participation in neighborhood associations … not just for crime … but to get to know who we are and to take an active role in our city.

    But it’s MOM and DAD … wherever you are in the city, Mom, and whereever you are on the line, Dad … put down whatever you’re doing right now and hold that child to yourself and tell them you are NEVER gonna let them go off in a body bag in the middle of ther night off some street here in Ypsilanti … or Wayne … or Romulus … or wherever. Get control Mom and Dad over your children. The church isn’t gonna do it for you. It’s YOUR job … and it doesn’t end if your child is 10 or 30.

    This Sunday in Ypsilanti, if the Moms and Dads are NOT called to task … to reasert there duty to regain control over their children … then we’ve missed another opportunity. Nothside, southside, eastside, westside …

    It is terribly ironic that the shooting occurred on Arcade … how awfully funny … how very sad.

    The avwrage third grader in Detroit knows what a body bag is … has seen one being used … and now so have my neighbors. I am sad for all of us … but I have yet to blink writing this. I am vigilant. I will not hesitate to do what I have to do. “Trust me, I have been trained to do this.” And I have.

  16. mark
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Just to clarify, I never said that I wouldn’t walk down Arcade, and I certainly didn’t say that the people there were lepers. I said that the thought of seeing the blood there, on the snow, freaked me out. I’ve walked down Arcade lots of times…

  17. mark
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    And, for what it’s worth, I’ve seen my share of prostitutes and drug dealers in front of my house. I’ve even had to confront two guys stealing my car. I don’t see much sense in being competitive about it, though, Steve. I also don’t think I’ve heard one person suggest that LAWNET not make busts here. And I haven’t heard anyone accuse the cop, or cops, of acting incorrectly. We just want the facts. You make it sound as though wanting to know the truth somehow makes us less good citizens, or less cop-friendly. It’s like this nonsense about “supporting the troops.” Here’s a newsflash: Everyone supports the troops. Suggesting that others don’t is asinine. We all support our local cops and want them to be safe. And we all appreciate the work that they’re doing. Just because we’re curious as to what the rules are for using deadly force, doesn’t mean that we don’t support them.

  18. mark
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    And thank you for your honesty, Andy.

  19. Dr. Cherry
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    After the “Best of” voting I was photographing Ned’s liquor store from the sidewalk. He came outside and put his hand over my camera and tried to tell me that I didn’t have the right to take photographs.

    I tried to explain that I could photograph anything I liked but he wouldn’t back down.

    I decided not to take any photos of his business or even mention it’s name again.

    He wasn’t very neighborly to me, he was an asshole.

  20. ol' e cross
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Other than Steve’s remark about the income tax (Steve, why do you always have to put in a plug?) I find I concur with most everything said, including much of Steve’s post.

    I stopped into the Keg tonight. (I thought they might need the business…hic…really). Turns out, business ain’t bad. Ned said the shooting didn’t originate from the Keg, but ended up on in the area/Arcade as part of a chase. He was rather perturbed by the A2 News accounts that implied the incident originated at the Keg. We’ll see if the any clarity is provided in coming days.

    The Keg is under new ownership since S&H’s creepy poll (I think that was about the time I stopped shopping there due to the previous owner’s persitent racist/sexist signs i.e., after 9/11 “Don’t fear, buy beer, American owned.”) For any concerned, the creepy Keg may not be as creepy now that the red-bloods are gone.

    I’m a slow thinker and am still trying to wrap my head around what-to-do about crime stuff. In the interim, I suggest the best thing we can do is drink as much liquor and consume as much cheap grease pizza as possible to show our solidarity. When I come up with another course of action, you all will be the first to know.

  21. ol' e cross
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Cherry. Was your Ned an anglo or from Iraq? (I think I was typing as you posted.) What made the Keg creepy?

  22. mark
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    The pizza at College Inn is actually pretty good. Since the pizza at Aubree’s started its descent in the realm of the mediocre, it’s where we get all our pizza now. I hope his business doesn’t suffer as a result of this. I don’t suspect it will. The lure of the $5.99 pizza is pretty strong.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Lets make some assumptions first. We hire good people to be cops. We also ask them to protect us from harm. We also authorise them to use deadly force if they believe in their judgement their life or the life of another human is at risk. So to answer Murph’s question, you can assume the officer that was involved in the shooting felt that it was absolutely necessary to use deadly force.

    I am not saying anyone is attacking the cops. But I have to worry when some makes a post that says guns a blazing, or murder on Arcade.

    We are all humans and we are capable of unspeakable acts and incredible kindness. And yes while we want questions answered from our police, I think it is important that we also ask those same questions of the family members that let this get so far out of hand that it resorted to gun violence. The family answers are demanding naswer from the police. We a a community should also be demanding answers from teh family. It appears that no one was shocked that this happened to their family member.

    Now what happens next is the worst part of being a cop. You get to second guess what you did and so does everyone else around you. But those are the rules and that is why there is an investigation.

    However, before we draw any further assumptions we have to wait for the investigation to be completed. We have an excellent police department and our police officers will tell us all that they can when the investigation is complete.

    As far as learning about Lawnet, I applaud that, lets learn more about what they do. I also encourage you to go learn about our own police pdeartment. The first night of the Citizens POlice academy was tonight. Everyone reading this should take the class in the next three years. It is a very good experience.

    More importantly, it isn’t just what you learn, it is a chance for our officers to meet more neighbors.

    If will be fairly obvious fairly quickly if this shooting was justified or not. But in the mean time lets focus on what we can do.

    Secondly it isn’t a competition, but this bad stuff is and has been happening in these other neighborhoods and I think sometimes folks are shocked when it happens next to their home. I have been talking to the victims, property owners, parents, and residents of some of the stuff that has been going on over in Midtown. Just as Riverside is demanding answers for your neighborhood, I hope you will stand up and help Midtown as well. This isn’t just a Riverside problem, we are all in this together.

    Take time to at laast once a year go to another NA meeting and just say hi. And invite others to come to yours.

    If we are going to combat it we need to be working more closely together as NA’s and we need to keep talking. We can’t depend on the city to fix the problem, we have to be the solution. It doesn’t mean armed neighbors, it does mean sitting down and talking and working on solutions.

    As far as people suggesting that Lawnet leave, it has been suggested in numerous calls and emails that I have received over the past three days, everyone of them has been from folks in the Riverside NA. So that discussion is happening and I am posting what I have been telling folks on the phone. Don’t react too quickly to kick Lawnet out, you may find what crawls in after they leave is, well it won’t be pretty.

    This is our city, we have to fight for our city. As someone once said, the revolution starts here.


    – Steve

  24. dorothy
    Posted January 26, 2007 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    for the record—i live 15 minutes from youngstown, ohio, the murder capital of the u.s. we have our share of murders for hire and body dumping, but for the most part it is imported murders not local crimes. rarely do the people who live here get involved. we just look on from the sidelines. i never lock my door, never look who’s out there before i open my door and would be hard pressed to find my door key. compared to my life in philadelphia, i’m living in a pastoral dream.

  25. egpenet
    Posted January 26, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    The last shooting I remember was in Riverside Park along Cross Street, where a busted drug sale not involving the police took place. More than 15 shots were counted by neighbors, but no one was hit.

    I credit fantastic marksmanship that six slugs found their target. Training DOES pay off.

    Lock and load …

  26. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Ed do you mean the last officer involved shooting was Riverside?

    – Steve

  27. egpenet
    Posted January 27, 2007 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Huh? No.

    I’m not as shocked as the others. I credit police training and marksmanship that six slugs hit the perpetrator. As regretable as any use of deadly force may be.

    The drug deal I referred to reputedly involved two perps shooting at each other and no shots hit home. THAT’S gun play, and dangerous on the corner of Huron and Cross. Sometime ago.

    Again, my hope continues to be that families everywhere in the city will get a grip on their loved ones and do what only families can do to keep it together. Beyond that, neighbors can help by keeping an eye out for each other and getting to know what’s going on. For those who have a New Testament around the house, read the answer to “Who is my neighbor?”

    For “recalcitrants,” we must provide a secure, safe and humane incarceration system, where physical, mental and spiritual health can be assured.

    I find it a bit ironic that those who stomp and cheer as Jack Bauer bites through his captor’s jugular now scream, shriek and howl loudest when an undercover team uses deadly force to clean the trash from OUR neighborhood streets.

    “Deals” are going down all the time on nice, quiet street corners or in busy parking lots near party stores, groceries, pet stores. Book bags, knapsacks, hoodies, letter jackets, bicycles, all intended to fit into the school or college scene. Most drug deals are literally a handshake … one hand has the money, the opposite hand the bag … any variation can be a problem.

    Let the investigation take its course, so the families, neighbors and LawNet itself can decide the propriety of what went down.

  28. schutzman
    Posted January 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm | Permalink


    “Who is my neighbor?”

    I believe he was a “samaritan.”
    Or, in this case, a dead man named David A. Ware, as the Christian parable is meant to single out the more universally detested background of the three travellers mentioned (and in America, I believe a black drug dealer would fit the bill).

    However, I don’t think that, in this scenario, there’s anyone involved who is “The one who had mercy,” and it certainly wouldn’t be people who are writing snarky blog comments criticizing the family of the victim, or commending the fact that he was hit with all six bullets (coincidentally, one for each of his children).

    Book bags and letter jackets, to ‘fit into’ the college scene? Ed, quite respectfully, what exactly are YOU smoking? That’s the way dealers and users dress because MANY OF THEM ARE COLLEGE STUDENTS.

    The people Mr. Ware was providing drugs to ARE your neighbors, the vast majority of whom are gainfully employed white adults much like yourself, and all are citizens of this town just as much as you or I.

    Now that Ware is out of the picture, Ypsilanti can expect even more troubles as competing dealers try to fill the gap he leaves, which they will inevitably do, because the demand still exists, and will continue to.


  29. egpenet
    Posted January 27, 2007 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Sheesh, Schutzman … relax.

    What I usually smoke, I buy at The Keg, or at the BP (3-pack discount).

    Of course, some dealers/users ARE students. Tuition is high. And where does thee financing come from to get the stuff here in the first place? One guess.

    My earlier point about “neighbor” was moving on from the “incident” to my neighbors in the RNA area, who need to look out for each other and get to know what’s going on around us.

    LawNet marksmanship … Snarky? Perhaps … I am grateful LawNet was there. Whether deadly force was justified, the investigation will determine. I am not the one that linked six shots to his six children. YOU did.

    My comments above stand … to his family and to the families of all the users in town, who know who their troubled family members are. No one was critical of his family. Tight families are the solution.

    I can see you’re not a user or a seller. One don’t sell or buy in your own neighborhood. You deal elsewhere. Nobody from my hood was dealing at The Keg. There are a few we are watching,
    but they’re not buying locally, certainly not THAT close to home.

    As for the temporary “gap” left open by Mr. Ware’s sudden absence … what gap? Things are not getting any worse or any better. Those little positive and negative electrons running around here on bicycles have already seen to that. No one has gone wanting this weekend.

    Just maybe, the next “cloud” you see drifting over Michigan Avenue will be you know who. And you’ll get P’O’d at me all over again.

    (Now I’ll say it …) Cheers!

  30. schutzman
    Posted January 27, 2007 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    “No one was critical of his family.”

    Mr. Pierce openly suggested that they were the ones who should be answering questions, as opposed to the police. You’ve essentially agreed with that comment by your subsequent use of the term “family.”

    “One don’t sell or buy in your own neighborhood.”

    Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. That statement is not universally true, and its sole purpose would seem to suggest the aforementioned insular attitude which I find so unsettling. Cocaine is an expensive drug, much moreso than crack, ice, and meth, and has for a century been primarily a recreational pursuit of the upper classes. Rich white people are the only reason that selling paid well enough to warrant Mr. Ware’s taking the risk to engage in this behavior. Perhaps his death won’t signify the start of a drug war, but you can’t deny that the demand is still there, and will continue to be, and nothing being proposed will lessen it.

    I see, in these comments, a clear suggestion that there is some separate, alien ‘group’ which is NOT ‘US’, and which must be closely watched, and if they get out of line, justifiably killed.

    I also see, that the solution of how to solve these problems ‘must’ involve increased police presence, coupled with a lack of oversight (we shouldn’t question their motives, etcetera).

    Now, one takes a) scapegoating and add it to b) militarism, and you’ve got yourself the first two steps towards fascism. Nice. “First they came for the cocaine dealers, but since I don’t snort cocaine, I didn’t protest….”

    I wouldn’t care at all if these statements were being made, as you suggest, in the actual form of ‘my neighborhood’ or ‘my opinion’ or ‘people i know’, but instead they’re presented with an air of authority and inclusion by which an outsider might honestly think they represent the feelings of everyone in ypsilanti.

    They do not. I for one do not agree, and I believe many others would similarly find them to be counter-intuitive and, at the very worst, dangerous.

    I do not think that dealing drugs should be a capital offense. I especially don’t think that the execution should take place in a densely populated neighborhood.

    Based on the latest news reports, our local police were not informed of the pending bust, the suspects were unarmed, they made no hostile action towards the officers, and bullets were fired simply because Ware fled the scene. If this is all true, and the investigation bears these points out, then it raises some very serious questions about the incident, and whether such actions are really in the best interest of the community.

    That’s my point; sorry if I’ve belabored it.

  31. egpenet
    Posted January 27, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    No apologies for belaboring something we all feel so strongly about.

    I believe family is the key. I belive we ARE, very wrongly, a divided community that should seek every means to reunite and live in peace.

    I believe the police investigation should run its course and get out the facts. Deadly force is a tool of last resort, to be used only if threatened, as I referenced earlier. Let wait it out.

    I want to know if LawNet is empowered to use “No Knock” and other tactics, as have hit the news in other cities recently.

    We have some outdated ideas about drugs, what’s available, how much it is, if the stuff is pure or cut with anything. What’s being sold locally. What I know is that the stuff is good, cheap and easy to get.

    Dealing at the street level may not be a capital offense, but it’s not a victimless crime and it is at the root of so many other types of crime like simple assaults, larcenies, home invasions, car jackings, etc.

    Drugs and personal violence are how prostitutes are kept under control.

    Drugs, like booze and cigarettes (which are legal) are ways to take away the pain, diminish the anxieties, soften some unplesantness, lighten reality, even a little bit, if just for the moment.

    Family used to be our refuge … for many it still can be … for some, not. Breakdown of the family … fear on the streets … that’s the recipe the fascits used in Germany, and it is a card that will continue to be played in this country for at least two more years, which I, too, find disturbing.

    Let’s see how the investigation goes. Let’s keep on top. Let’s keep “belaboring” it until we as a community can consense.

    – Cheers

  32. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Ed, absolutely, thank you, great post.

    I did not say that anyone was criticizing the family. In fact it was me that was bringing up the issue. It came up because of what was reported in the S’nuz.

    ———– AANEWS Jan 25, 2007
    Rhonda Witty, a cousin of Ware’s, said Wednesday that her family was told at the morgue that Ware was shot twice in the chest, twice in the leg, once in the groin and once in the back, in a shoulder blade.

    “He probably was involved in a drug deal. And there is no way I condone the fact that he may have played a part in this,” Witty said.

    But, she added, shooting Ware six times seemed excessive. She said that if tests indicate Ware had or fired a gun, “then I can understand.” But failing that, she said, she wants an explanation.

    It seems like the family, at least one family member, was not surpised he was involved in drugs. So I understand the family wants an explanation, seems fair. They should get an explanation and I think after the investigation they will have an explanation. And if the shooting was bad, we should hold the persons accountable. But the family must also be accountable.

    The community also deserves an explanation from the family of how this all happened. Perhaps they really did try to stop this madness. Then great, lets hear about it and lets learn from it so someone else doesn’t have to die because of drugs. But if the family knew this crud was going on and didn’t do something, well then I think they need to explain why and lets learn from that failure as well.

    – Steve

  33. ingrid
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The community also deserves an explanation from the family of the law enforcement official who shot an unarmed man in the back.

  34. schutzman
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


    thanks for your reply. Following our exchange, I think you and I probably agree more than we disagree, and hopefully when the situation is resolved- if that’s really possible- we can meet back here and talk about the findings.

    The one aspect of the case which I mentioned in passing, but which I really think is one of the biggest questions in my mind, is the matter confirmed by new reports involving LAWNET operating independently, and without notification or involvement of local law enforcement. I’m not going to go on about it, but I think when the dust settles (or even before the investigation begins), that should be a matter of public discussion and clarification.

    Anyway, I’ve yet to get any coffee in my system, I stayed up way too late last night watching a Mike Hammer movie, I don’t feel like arguing with anyone this morning, and my inbox has several emails from people wanting to do just that.

    So, ed, thanks again for the conversation, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that things work out as best they can.


    As for the family’s responsibility, I myself have two cousins, who just like Mr. Ware, are around 30 years of age. They live in Pennsylvania, and I usually only see them once a year, although we wish we could visit more.

    If one of them did something illegal, and then a news reporter called me up and interrogated me on the subject, I would make whatever vague comments I could about what I think they’re up to (to be fair, the answer in one case would unfortunately be ” making a slasher film ” ).

    Now, at that point, who could honestly fault me for what they’d done? A 29-year-old adult, living independently, is supposed to be controlled by their cousin? Or any other family member, for that matter?

    And, as Ingrid points out much more succinctly than any of us are capable of writing, there are much worse things a person can end up doing than selling drugs.

  35. julesabu
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Stop with this shit about “the family”, would you? You don’t want community members to make assumptions about the circumstance that led to this guy being shot six times, yet you feel it’s okay to make assumptions about this guy and his family. The man was 29 years old. An adult. That would make him responsible for the bad choices he made, not his family. Who in the hell knows what his family did or did not try to do to help him. And they don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation. He wasn’t a kid or a teenager, still under the control of whatever a family might be able to influence.
    And for fuck’s sake, stop romanticizing “the family’, in general. Family is probably one of the grayest areas there could be in life. Families are great, families suck, sometimes all at the same time. I’ve known people who’s parents did all the right things and they still became addicts or some other kind of screwup and when their families tried to help them, they got sucked down into the morass. And I’ve known people who’s families were horrid and they somehow survived it and became good people. In fact, I’m one of those people. And I can tell you that no matter how much love and attention I pour over and into my two kids, the scariest thing in life is that they could still turn out to be screwups, no matter my influence. Certainly, the chances lessen if there’s good parenting involved, but in the end, it’s a crapshoot.
    People have a right to wonder why this seemingly unarmed person was shot in the back as he was running away. I didn’t think Mark’s post was hysterical or paranoid nor were most of the comments. You have a perfect right to automatically give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. I have a right not to. Not in these times. As far as I’m concerned, as a citizen, I have a right to demand an explanation for this shooting. As far as I’m aware, we still have the rule of law here and cops are not judge, jury and executioner even on drug dealers. And bringing up Jack Bauer’s jugular-biting is a low blow and has not a damn thing to do with this. It’s a fucking tv show. This is real life we’re talking about here.

  36. Dirtgrain
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    “Lets make some assumptions first. We hire good people to be cops.”

    Why the hell make that blanket assumption? Can we more logically assume that while our goal is to hire good people (vague term, though), it’s possible, and even likely, that we once in a while unknowingly (I hope not knowingly) hire a bad person (vague, again) to be a cop? Perhaps we have a few bad cops (just like we have a few bad teachers, bad mechanics, bad politicians, etc.), or maybe people just unqualified (emotionally, attitudinally, etc.) to be police officers. And maybe some blindly label them good people, good guys (where is postmodern relativism when we need it?), defending their actions before the evidence is out.

    Police officer may be a thankless job, and I don’t think we should carelessly condemn the police as a department or as individuals–not without cause proportional to our claims. But assuming they’re all good, all the time–sheesh. As others have pointed out, that’s an open door to fascism.

  37. schutzman
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    nicely said, julesabu.

  38. ypsidweller
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m not making an opinion on the matter but from experience as an “On-call” maintenance person for public housing I learned drug busts are never told to anyone except the immediate people doing the busting. Not the director or the local police. There has to be no chance for anyone to know about the investigation or actual bust. They want no chance of anything or one being compromised. So to say they should inform everyone just ain’t gonna happen. What if an Ypsi cop was part of the nefarious activity?

    I got calls at 4am/weekends saying I had to come in and install a new door that was smashed to splinters. I would tell them that a master key could be used or have a worker open the door and save $700 in time and materials. But that never mattered (I do believe they enjoy the actual destruction and andrenilin involved though.)

    But thats just they way they operate.

  39. schutzman
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I said I wouldn’t go on about it, but I guess I lied.

    Ypsidweller raised the point “What if an Ypsi cop was part of the nefarious activity?”, and that’s one of the alternate scenarios which has troubled me.

    LAWNET doesn’t let the YPD know in advance. From this, I think we can draw one of four basic conclusions:

    1) LAWNET thinks our cops are corrupt. If they are, this troubles me, but if they aren’t, the mistrust needs to be corrected.

    2) LAWNET thinks our cops aren’t neccessarilly ‘corrupt’, but rather incompetent, and would screw things up if they got involved. See my reaction to the above point.

    3) Law enforcement is politicized, i.e., the local cops are in a predominately Democratic environment, and their enforcement or lack thereof involving specific crimes is affected by that (i.e., Ypsi and AA have somewhat lax Marijuana Possession laws). The state agencies, however, are controlled by what has been for many years a Republican-dominated house, and hence they’ll take a much more absolute approach to the enforcement of that agenda, and when it comes to working on a case like this it might be preferred by said powers operating at that level, that the local liberals be kept out of the loop.

    4) The lack of communication results from a completely accidental bureaucratic oversight.

    If any of these theories is true, it bothers me. If an alternate theory could be presented, I’d welcome hearing it.

  40. oliva
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    This has probably been said already–am just catching up (after riding out to DC for a fabulous and very huge anti-war protest march–where’s the press coverage?!?! every kind of person was there, whole families too, many children and old people, so impressive, pls. don’t believe just “tens of thousands” were there!)–but Chief Matt H. pointed out the morning after this happened that LAWNET includes one Ypsilanti police officer, for what it’s worth.

  41. ypsidweller
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think any of those assumpstions are valid. I think the point is more like 7 degrees of seperation. Or the shampoo comercial; “and then they’ll tell two freinds, who rell theri freinds, and so on, and so on…”

    Think of the things you inadvertantly or purposely tell you freinds, spouse, storekeep, blogger, etc…

    An undercover group isn’t unless it fite its name.

    And I think Ypsi cops so a great job under the circumstances.

  42. ypsidweller
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the spelling, the coffee is making me jitter today.

  43. ypsidweller
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    There now is a flower arrangement held with the yellow police tape that was left, on the corner of Arcade and Huron. It appeared yesterday. Its tied on on the corner traffic sign.

  44. schutzman
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    ypsidweller, I think that the accidental leak of information you suggest would fall under my “Scenario #2”, that of incompetence.

    And, to clarify, the job Ypsilanti Police do is not, nor has it ever been, an element in this case. The only involvement they have in the situation is the business of their exclusion, for which I don’t hold them at all responsible.

    Thanks for the update about the flowers.

  45. egpenet
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Jabu and Schutzman:

    Our mitochondria are who we are … and whatever committed relationship of which we are products is one step forward from there. Family (any committed relationship of two or more) matters, anyway you slice it.

    And until the investigation is over, let’s get our questions together, but stop speculating.

  46. idmta
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    “But if the family knew this crud was going on and didn’t do something, well then I think they need to explain why and lets learn from that failure as well.”

    People have to eat, Steve. People have to pay their rent and their utility bills. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know – I’m sure you proposed a plan that would have brought however many jobs to the city… But, you didn’t get elected. That’s because you’re an idiot and everything that comes out of your mouth sounds like half-baked used car salesman crap.

    Even if David Ware was only selling drugs to support himself, statements like the one I quoted would still be inexcusable. 6 kids? You should be ashamed of yourself. And yes, you’re right, crack (or whatever he was selling) is illegal and no, it’s not victimless as it’s a gateway to other crime. But again, somedays one can only point the finger back at oneself. I understand that as a middle aged WASP, it’s hard for you to wrap your mind around the idea that coping w/the aid of chemicals is a luxury. Some people don’t have health insurance/don’t have private health insurance and thus aren’t able to just walk down to Walgreens and buy something to manage the stress of everyday living.

    I’m not saying I advocate legalization of street drugs or that I don’t think bad things come from what he was doing, but the operative word there is “was” and I think this is a really sad situation for you to use to communicate your already stupid agenda

    “Let’s make some ass.u.m(e)ptions first. We hire good people to be cops.”

    In this case, if your assumption is incorrect, the “me” is you (Steve Pierce) and the “(yo)u” is David Ware (“ass out of you and me”. I’ll come clean and say that I suffer from the same fear and prejudice of the average police officer as it sounds like you do of the average disenfranchised minority, but really… That statement is 50% ignorance and 50% pure stupidity. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  47. Dr. Cherry
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Using or selling controlled substances is not, in itself, a violent act.

    Violence is introduced into a market as a reaction when the normal controls are absent, in this case through the legal system. It’s a traditional black market.

    Demand exists while the supply is illegal. This prohibition makes the drug market violent since there is no legal protection like in other markets.

    If our aim was to reduce the harm that illegal drugs do to people, we might re-think what effect “a war on drugs” has on the price of drugs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that reducing supply only serves to increase cost which drives further investment.

    If our aim was to incarcerate an every-growing percentage of the population, we’d likely opt to stay the course.

  48. egpenet
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Very dearest Dr.:

    You obviously do not have an additctive bone in your body or you would know that you would do whatever to get whatever you need … not to feed your family … screw that … but to feed that little part of your brain that’s screaming “feed me!” The result is MORE violence. Substance abuse is a cultural, physical, emotional, etc. … issue. But the result in almnost every case is violence from self abuse to spouse abuse to child abuse to irrational behavior on the job, on the road. Addicts on whatever it is they’re on will do whatever it takes to get satisfaction.

  49. mark
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    A reader by the name of Elizabeth tried to leave the following comment today, but couldn’t.

    Right on, Dr. Cherry. A friend of mine just finished this book and recommends it highly.

    The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World’s Most Troubled Drug Culture

    Richard DeGrandpre

    312 pages (November 2006)

    America had a radically different relationship with drugs a century ago. Drug prohibitions were few, and while alcohol was considered a menace, the public regularly consumed substances that are widely demonized today. Heroin was marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and marijuana was available as a tincture of cannabis sold by Parke Davis and Company.

    Exploring how this rather benign relationship with psychoactive drugs was transformed into one of confusion and chaos, The Cult of Pharmacology tells the dramatic story of how, as one legal drug after another fell from grace, new pharmaceutical substances took their place. Whether Valium or OxyContin at the pharmacy, cocaine or meth purchased on the street, or alcohol and tobacco from the corner store, drugs and drug use proliferated in twentieth-century America despite an escalating war on “drugs.”

    Richard DeGrandpre, a past fellow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and author of the best-selling book Ritalin Nation, delivers a remarkably original interpretation of drugs by examining the seductive but ill-fated belief that they are chemically predestined to be either good or evil. He argues that the determination to treat the medically sanctioned use of drugs such as Miltown or Seconal separately from the illicit use of substances like heroin or ecstasy has blinded America to how drugs are transformed by the manner in which a culture deals with them.

    Bringing forth a wealth of scientific research showing the powerful influence of social and psychological factors on how the brain is affected by drugs, DeGrandpre demonstrates that psychoactive substances are not angels or demons irrespective of why, how, or by whom they are used. The Cult of Pharmacology is a bold and necessary new account of America’s complex relationship with drugs.

    “Every decade or two a book comes along that causes a fundamental shift of gaze. Richard DeGrandpre’s The Cult of Pharmacology is one. It pulls apart the mythic powers we have attributed to drugs, showing that drug effects are not the products of mere molecules alone but of the deeply politicized meanings inscribed upon them by society which shape how they are used. This book charts a new course beyond the repressive excesses and costly failures of punitive prohibition. It will make fascinating reading for citizens concerned with drug use and drug problems; it should be required reading for policymakers.”

  50. ol' e cross
    Posted January 29, 2007 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    As Elizabeth’s post suggests, if currently banned drugs were legalized, it would be the most powerful weapon to disenfranchise drug dealers. Phillip Morris, Pfizer and Bud would instantly be battling over who could engineer the sweetest high. Drug dealers, like rum runners, would go the way of the pterodactyl. (How many bootleggers do you know?)

    Pfizer would not hire our local dealers to do their sales promotion. Current dealers would still, whether from familial neglect, lack of upward mobility or personal nefarious choice, be relegated to illegal activity (be it child porn or blackmarket DVDs). And, they would still be stung and shot by our police.

    If drugs were legal, David Ware would not be worrying about whether he would stay in A2 or be transferred when Pfizer closed ranks; he would still be dead, killed by his association with whatever we determined to be most dangerous on that day, while stockholders reaped the rewards of the new “Cociagra.”

    Whether or not what, specifically, Ware did should or shouldn’t be legal misses the point for me. My first concern is: was the officer justified in shooting? My second is: what can we can be done to reduce the number of folks who engage in illegal activity, whatever that be and for whatever reason, because the illegal risk is nearly always greater than the reward.

  51. mark
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    And what’s wrong with going “the way of the pterodactyl“?

  52. Dr. Cherry
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Addicts on whatever it is they’re on will do whatever it takes to get satisfaction.

    I think you might be confusing the drug trade with the habits of addicts. They often intersect but are not one in the same.

    I was referring the violence created to protect the drug trade. Not individual addicts violent behavior. Though, if addicts didn’t have to break the law to get their fix, they wouldn’t. This alone would not eliminate violence but reduce it dramatically.

    This is what we get when we try to fix a public health problem with a legal/police/incarceration solution.

    Instead of trying to help get people healthy we punish them, which apparently doesn’t even curb their desire for drugs.

    I’m not saying “legalize drugs” per se. I’m not saying let corporations control substances. I’m just saying that we have a failed solution to the drug problem and if we were smart (which we’re not) we’d look at more effective solutions.

    Though if I were the CEO of a company that built and operated private prisons, I’d be all for the war on drugs. The US incarcerates a higher percentage of her population than any country on the planet.

  53. Anonymous
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    idtma wrote this about selling drugs

    People have to eat, Steve. People have to pay their rent and their utility bills.

    From the post idtma seems to be saying that the guy was selling illegal drugs to support his family. idmta seems to be arguing that it is OK for someone to sell illegal drugs as long as they are using the money for good, like buying groceries.

    I wonder what the folks over on Arcade or for that matter much of the Riverside NA would say if told that it is OK to sell illegal drugs in their neighborhood as long as the drug dealers are using the money to buy food and pay rent.

    I suspect a petition would be written up demanding the police get rid of all the drug dealers faster than someone could press “send comment”.


    – Steve

  54. Dirtgrain
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    You, Steve Pierce, could meet idtma somewhere in between the extremes of “it’s okay for police to kill drug dealers without provocation” and “it’s okay to have drug dealing going on in your neighborhood.” There are some other possibilities, are there not?

  55. egpenet
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Referencing the NYT magazine section on Food by Michael Pollan this weekend …

    You tell people NOT to eat so much meat and dairy, and NOT to eat processed and hydrogenated food products, and to eat LESS seeds and more LEAVES … and maybe they do, maybe they don’t … but the dairy, meat producers, archer-daniels and the supplements people go nuts. It’s the nutritionists’ War on Chemistry. Simply eat more real Food.

    Too bad the War on Drugs isn’t this easy. Too bad we all can’t enjoy a reasonably-priced recreational ecstacy or a cocaine rub on our gums, now and then without risking incarceration, or losing our minds, or hurting someone, or hurting ourselves. Maybe science could make us all normal, so this could happen, and “fun” drugs could be, at least, decriminalized, if not legalized.

    Oh, well. God made poppies, and man harvests the sap so man can feed his family … and the chain goes on, tens of thousands of miles around the planet, right to our doorstep. It’s the miracle of free enterprise. And it works all too well.

  56. Dr. Cherry
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Our drug policy makes growing poppies and selling heroin even more profitable than it would be without the ban.

    Making something people want illegal has the effect of a market control which will drive the cost of the product up by limiting supply. It’s economics 101.

    Same thing happened with prohibition. Alcohol wasn’t less available, it was just more expensive because of the risk involved with supplying it.

    When an addictive drug is the product and it’s expensive, that’s when addicts break into your house to steal your stuff. I suggest that if it was cheap, addicts wouldn’t be as compelled to turn to crime.

    I don’t know that there’s any evidence to prove that making drugs expensive has an effect on drug use. It does however have an effect on crime.

    When the police make a big bust and say, “we got $10,000 worth of drugs off the street”. They should also add that they just made the rest of the supply worth more.

    If getting people off of addictive drugs was the goal, we’d be going about it differently.

  57. Anonymous
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


    I am not a police apologist. You can ask anyone on the force in in our NA, when the screw up, they are called on it, everytime. But my fatheralso taught me a couple of important lessons. First, don’t jump to conclusions until you have the facts. You may not know all the facts, but making assumptions on the motive and actions of a shooting 24 hours after the shooting, is not good.

    Secondly, if you are going to criticize something, you should also take the time to recognize when people do something right. I try to do that every day.

    Sometimes, when you are a vocal critic, the people watching from the sidelines only see the criticsm, they don’t see the compliments or the help when offered.

    I have tried to make a difference in the community and when I see a wrong, I will point it out. Whether it is the police officer that has driven by the same abandoned car some 12 times in the past month or a city government that violates the open meetings law, I will point it out.

    But I will also tell folks when they do things right, I write letters to them and the local press thanking folks for their help or kindness. Many have even been published in the papers. When asked for help whether it is cleaning up the park, or helping relocate a person trying to escape from an abusive relationship, or getting volunteers to fix porch on house, I have done those things since I first arrived here and will continue to because that is what being a neighbor is.

    One thing I have never done is say that police can shoot someone without provocation. Moreover, I don’t consider the selling of illegal drugs to be work.

    If this shooting turns out to be bad, I will help lead the charge for reform so that we do everything we can as citizens to learn from it so we don’t repeat the mistake.

    However, if the shooting was in response to bodily harm to other officers or neighbors, then I am going to stand with and behind our officers ebcasue they are doing what we asked them to do. That is not an apologist, that is trying to right by people.


    – Steve

  58. Anonymous
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Steve Cherry,

    I agree, our national drug policy is a failed and innefective policy.

    However, we have to separate out the discussion over drug policy versus the discussion of the the enforcment of the current laws by the police. We as citizens via our legislature and courts, tell the officers the laws to enforce. As neighbors and citizens of Ypsilanti, we tell our elected officals and the police directly the priorities of that enforcement. We then go ask them to do that job and because it is a very dangerous job, we ask them risk injury or death to protect our community.

    That is separate from our policy towards drug offenses and incarceration and rehabilitation. We need a change in our drug policy, it is not working. When some 30 to 50% of all prisoners in Michigan are in jail for non-violent drug offenses, we have a serious problem. But that problem is not the police department, it is with ourselves as voters.

    We are responsible for what our elected officlas do. And when many races have a 35% voter turn out or worse, we put the power in a minority that drives that policy.

    Want to change drug policy in America, get people to vote.

    I believe it is our failed drug policy that is the nuumber one we have drugs as a problem in our society. Does that mena legalization or regualtion, perhaps, it is something we should talk about.

    But the current drug policy is broken.

    – Steve

  59. Dr. Cherry
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    SP: Agreed, agreed. We’ve certainly put the police in a tough spot.

    We have a say though indirectly. I think the prosecutor’s office and the local judges have a lot to do with what laws are enforced or “targeted”. These are elected positions in most cases. Like your “hotspots” and conditional bond for example. (This may explain why drug activity is moving around town.)

    Police, more than anyone understand the danger surrounding the existing drug trade.

    So do we know if the suspect was armed or not? Have the police released a statement? It seems like there ought to be an investigation underway regarding the use of force in this incident.

  60. Anonymous
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    No further statements that I have been able to find. But I am continuing to research the story and if we get any breaking news, we will post it as quickly as possible.


    – Steve

  61. edweird
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    For further reading on the history of the “drug war” read Dan Baum’s fine book “Smoke and Mirrors.”

  62. thisoneguy
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    excerpt from an Ypsilanti Courier article written by Kathleen R. Conat.
    published: May 3, 2007

    ” n According to all accounts by the pursuing officers, Ware turned toward Hamilton with his hand reaching into his waistband. Thinking Ware was going to pull a handgun and believing his fellow officer, Wallace, had been shot, Hamilton fired his service weapon one time at Ware.

    Ware proceeded a short distance further on Arcade St., then again turned toward Hamilton with his hand at his waistband. Hamilton, believing Ware to be armed and about to shoot him, shot Ware two more times.

    n Ware then fell to the ground, having been shot three times by Hamilton. In his left hand, he was clenching the money used by LAWNET to purchase the cocaine. No weapon was found on him.”

    tragic misinterpretation?

    link to original article with autopsy report:

  63. thisoneguy
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    sorry, just now saw marks last post about this…

  64. Steph
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The police shooting of David Ware was first discussed here January 24 of 2007.

  65. Steph
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Sorry. I meant to write that in the ‘summing up 07’ thing. I’ll put it there too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Why am I here