Lest any of us rush to judgment, I will begin by stating that it is hoped that the ongoing investigation by the city of Detroit and Detroit police department will yield a final and definitive report on what happened exactly during a Thursday night traffic stop of new Detroit City Council president pro tem George Cushingberry. That said, why is it that some of our highest profile city leaders continue to demonstrate a lack of judgment?
It was almost prophetic that, earlier in the day, the Detroit News published a piece by Nolan Finley, which expressed trepidation over new city council leadership, “Did Detroit Get Another Crazy Council?” In fact, the editorial called out Cushingberry as, “…a slick political operator who has had his snout in the public trough for nearly 40 years.” And, while the council’s second in charge responded with a public ‘Go to Hell’, Finley appeared literally Nostradamus-like, considering events that would occur mere hours later.
Between Cushingberry, police officials and media reports, some of the exact facts of the incident on 8-mile are murky, yet it appears no one is disputing that officers found an empty rum bottle and marijuana in the council member’s car. Cushingberry stated the weed was for a medical marijuana patient friend and the bottle had been in the backseat for some time. Perhaps most controversial is his alleging racial profiling by police led to the stop.
At no time in Detroit’s history has image and behavior – and judgment – been more important, in particular by city leaders. This week’s commentary by the Detroit News, expressing concern that the age old adage of the more things change, the more they stay the same may once again come to pass appears well founded. After all, anyone driving around with an empty liquor bottle and unsecured marijuana is asking for trouble. Again, I’m not judging, I’m just saying that where our leaders are concerned we deserve men and women with integrity, character – and judgment. If not, here’s another saying these individuals should consider: Lead or go home.