1992 was a big year for me. I entered the 12 grade at Mackenzie High School, I turned 18 years old & I voted for former president Bill Clinton.
Back then, all I cared about was voting for the 1st time, graduating, looking good & my little information booth job at Fairlane mall.
My mind was right up until November 5 that year when one of largest incidences of police brutality occurred in Detroit; the death of Malice Green.
I remember going to school Nov 6th and how many of my friends were saddened and outraged that another Black man was brutilized by the hands of white police officers. Men who swore to serve and protect.
Malice Green’s death ignited a powder keg of racial tension in and around Detroit. As details started to leak about the night the fatal blows ended a life things got more intense & people seemed more angry.
If you know anything about Detroit, then you know that it’s one of the most racially segregated cities in the US (Google it if you don’t believe me) and this case did nothing but present more barriers.
When I drive past the intersection of Warren & 23rd and see the mural dedicated to Malice, I have strong memories of people talking about rioting if the offending officers were convicted. The possibility of rioting was very real then considering the 1992 Los Angeles riots (remember poor Reginald Denny?) which occurred after the police officers who brutally attacked Rodney King were acquitted.
The good news is there was no riot, the officers were convicted & the city began to heal.
On the flip side of this story, I also remember being in love with Kym Worthy who was the prosecutor on the case.
It’s hard to believe this happened 18 years ago.
Malice Green was a resident of Detroit, Michigan who died while in police custody after being arrested by Detroit police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers on November 5, 1992 during a traffic stop. Both officers were later convicted for Green’s death. While Green’s autopsy showed he had crack cocaine and alcohol in his system, the official cause of death was ruled due to blunt force trauma to his head, although several other prominent neuro-pathologists ruled that Green died from an acute cocaine overdose. Green allegedly failed to relinquish a vial of crack cocaine, attempted to assault the officers, attempted to grab Nevers’ gun and resisted arrest. Nevers struck Green in the head with his flashlight approximately seven times during the struggle which, according to the official autopsy, resulted in his death. Again other neuro-pathologist ruled that his head wounds were superficial, and could not alone have caused death.
After the struggle Green was transported to a local hospital for treatment for the head injuries sustained in the struggle where he died.
A subsequent report presented by the police officers’ paid experts at their trial stated that Green died of heart failure, caused in part by an enlarged heart due to years of substance abuse, and aggravated by the struggle with police.
Green, a drug addict and career criminal, was black and the two decorated officers were white. The incident occurred only months after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which protested the acquittal of police officers in the video-taped beating of Rodney King. Local leaders, including Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, may have feared a repeat of the Los Angeles riots in Detroit. Young stated that Green was “literally murdered by police” on national television less than 72 hours after the incident, before any investigation had been concluded. He also stated that the “wrong” verdict in the case could cause riots similar to those in Los Angeles after the Rodney King incident. (Source | Wikipedia)
Officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn were convicted of second-degree murder in 1993 by a mostly Black jury.