Detroit’s Destiny

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Variations on a Theme
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-please hit the title for a link to the article that was the catalyst for this entry-

Detroit’s Destiny


I knew a handful of Detroit cops from my job at a bartender on the edge of Greektown.  On weekends, plainclothes guys put on their uniforms and worked the Downtown beat, protecting suburban Whites and from the natives. They’d get thirsty.  They’d duck into the bar for a coca-cola with a hefty shot of booze.  At closing, they’d return again for the pickings.  

The suburban Whitegirls went nuts for these  “true” cops.  I was attracted to them too, in my own curious way.  Every man, no matter how inarticulate, was a  book of harrowing and humorous stories.  Futhermore, being low on the totem-pole of life, they almost always had a goofy humility  that was best expressed on their off nights, without groupies or uniforms, when the hard-core drinking began at 2:30 am.   I’ve never had, even in my nightwatches on the Caribbean, such great story telling company. And rarely have I been regarded with less suspicion as I told my own  tales of dark, socially-retarded and lonely adventures.  

I could go toe-to-toe with them for awhile, and then the coppers outsdistanced me with a fireside ease.  Inevitably, I wanted to get on The Force.  I wanted “in”. I was about 32 years old when I passed the physical with White scorekeepers who’d been given the nod that I was okay.  There was a hiring freeze.  I had to repeat the obstacle course, the  dummy drag and the mile run again at 36. I had Black scorekeepers. In fact, I had Black female scorekeepers who were asleep at the stop-watch.  I failed.  I knew it was a blessing in disguise and continued tending bar until I landed at my proper station: teaching Special Ed at a Detroit high school.  

During my time as a teacher, Malice Green got stopped outside a crackhouse down the road. He resisted arrest.  He got a few whacks upside the head with a mag-light in the course of submission.  He died from a cocaine induced and/or trauma induced siezure.  The arresting officers got thrown to the dogs.  There was a show-trial.  I attended a semi-private fundraiser for the accused in an Irish saloon near the retired Cadillac Fleetwood plant.  And here’s the point: It was like walking into the very last heated and lamplit bunker at  Stalingrad.

Warriors in the shadows.  98% White cops.  Huddled together and sharing their fate.  I didn’t belong.  I was on the inside of the inner-circle, but only physically.  I had two beers then left.  A single cop, having a sixth sense for interlopers, followed me outside. He must’ve thought  that I was a gallows reporter from the mainstream press.   But I could never stoop that low.



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