DETROIT (CN) – Legally embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick demoted an investigator to a glorified secretary to keep him off the case of an alleged drug dealer and con man who claimed to have personal and professional ties with the mayor, the ex-investigator claims in Wayne County Court.
“Defendant Mayor Kilpatrick has created an unwritten but very real policy within the Detroit Police Department to the effect that officers who report possible wrongdoing on the part of the Mayor, his family or any member of his staff or Executive Protection Unit are to be dealt with swiftly and harshly,” the lawsuit claims.
Officer Ira Lee Todd Jr. was a successful investigator with the prestigious Violent Crimes Task Force when he allegedly learned the mayor’s policy firsthand, while heading the investigation of Vincent Smothers, who was accused of murdering a man and a woman execution-style.
The task force learned that Smothers, also known as “Vito,” may have been involved in multiple homicides, some of which he allegedly committed with a man named Ernest Davis, who goes by the street name “Nemo.”
Davis has a brother, James, in Kentucky who allegedly harbored the murder suspects in between crimes. The Lexington police sergeant told Todd that James Davis had been a successful “upper-level drug dealer” and was the target of a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
Todd claims the Lexington sergeant also tipped him off that James Davis claimed to have personal and professional connections with the Detroit mayor, who is no stranger to corruption allegations. Kilpatrick faces a removal hearing on Sept. 3, after he allegedly failed to fully inform city council members about an $8.4 million police whistleblower settlement. He was also disgraced by a text-message scandal with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, with whom he had an affair.
During Smothers’ interrogation, Smothers not only confessed to the two homicides, but he also admitted to having murdered several others as a hired gun for a notorious Detroit drug gang.
Todd briefed his Detroit superiors about James Davis’ alleged ties with Smothers and Ernest Davis, and told them about James’ purported ties to Kilpatrick.
Within the next three days, Todd claims, the department sent him packing on a mandatory vacation. When he returned, he says he was kicked off the task force and transferred to a regular precinct. He allegedly had to turn in his company car, cell phone and all copies of written reports linking James Davis to Kilpatrick.
After some of the officers fought to get him back, Todd claims he was transferred to the homicide control desk – where he answered the telephone. He says the department’s top supervisors told him that he could only get his former job back if he promised not to pursue any investigation of James Davis or any leads of the criminal suspect’s reported connection to Kilpatrick.
Todd claims his transfer out of the Violent Crimes Task Force was the direct result of the mayor’s interference or of his “sacred cow policy.”
He seeks at least $25,000 in damages. The firm Stefani & Stefani is representing him.