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As Dea Probe Sputters

As Dea Probe Sputters image
Parent Issue
Day
15
Month
October
Year
1976
OCR Text

past July, when the f orces aligned against him evidently decided to step up their assault until Young's political life would be snuffed out and the nation's fifth-largest city back in the hands of its rightful owners. The massive pólice layoffs July lst provided the catalyst, and ever since then the en tire city has been talken on a wild, terrifying ride through one of the heaviest politica] battles since Nixon was forced out of the presidency in 1974. Nixon's replacement, however, was strictly cosmetic; Young's remo val next November or before would bring about a serious political change, from the gressive to the utterly ary, thus dashing any real hope Detroiters might have for the resurrection of their city as a socially and economically integrated metropolis controlled by the majority of its citizens. The pólice responded to the layoffs by simply refusing to work and, many believe, by actively promoting violent crime in the streets, using the alienated youth of the vast bombed-out ghettos as pawns in an ice-cold terroristic game of three-dimensional chess. At best they offered a program of "malign neglect," letting crimináis roam the city at will to prey on their fellow citizens while the pólice scheduled vacations or sat chuckling in their fortified stationhouses. Talk of black street gangs and murderous thugs mounted in the . media until the citizenry was frightened out of its wits. Then carne the Cobo Hall attack of August 1 5th- the day the mayor left town for a few days' vacation- and what was in reality an isolated, never-since-repeated incidence of urban youth violence was blown up by the media into a "near-riot" comparable to the civil war which raged here in 1967. August 15th was a real turning point; Young was under attack from all sides, with the "gangs" joining the pólice, the media, and everyone in town who had been waiting for Coleman to get into trouble so they could try to kick him on the way down. By the end of the week, the feds were in it to the hilt, dropping what they figured would be the atomic bomb itself - the charge that Frank Blount, Young's personal appointee to the Number Two spot in the pólice hierarchy and long recognized as the mayor's choice to replace Chief Tannian, was being investigated for narcotics activity by the DEA. That was Young's longest week, and by the time the DEA got into the act many observe rs were dering if the mayor would ever get out of it. But he had begun to move swiftly and decisively after the Cobo Hall fiasco, which he was quick to grasp was some kind of set-up, and he didn't stop moving for another six weeks, culminating his defensive strategy by firing Tannian, promoting Hart to chief, bringing in Bannon - the media's golden boy of the DPD -- to fill Blount' s spot as Executive Deputy Chief, and striking a new rapport with the emergent DPOA leadership. (To be continued next week)