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The Daily Gazette
Reports say suspect in custody for alleged threats to kill Flint's 2nd Ward City Councilman Davis
Apparently a press release out of Flint City Hall says someone is in custody for threatening 2nd Ward City Councilman Maurice Davis.
We don't get press releases from Mayor Sheldon Neeley's organization anymore, so we wouldn't know for sure. We must trust the word of ABC TV 12 and MLive / The Flint Journal.
They both say it's so.
But we've all learned over the years that's not exactly always reliable information, of course. In fact, Deputy Chief Prosecutor John Potbury tells me in this particular case that nobody is in custody to his knowledge.
"I do not believe anyone has been charged in the threats against Councilman (Davis). Last I knew, the investigation was continuing," Potbury said.
He added, however, that he isn't always "100% on top of cases" and was puzzled about the media reports.
It's concerning that anyone would threaten to kill Councilman Davis if he doesn't vote with Eric Mays on Flint issues. The 2nd Ward councilman said during Monday's public meeting via telephone conference call that the threats came via phone calls by someone in a "calm voice" claiming he needs to vote on issues with Eric Mays and "must pay $1 million or be killed."
ABC TV 12 and MLive / The Flint Journal made a big deal out of the fact Councilman Davis voted for Donald Trump, each implying in their stories as if that's perhaps the reason for the alleged death threats.
The first-term city councilman had previously been better known for his blues music history before his strong endorsement for Trump was revealed during the 2020 campaign on Detroit radio personality Charlie LeDuff's podcast — The No B.S. Newshour. LeDuff's 50,000 listeners blew up the story, leading to an invitation by then Vice President Mike Pence for Councilman Davis to join Pence to speak during a campaign stop for Trump at Flint's Bishop Airport.
Take it from me — the Trump endorsement officially ends any chance of re-election for Councilman Davis in the 2nd Ward where Joe Biden won more than 90% of the vote. Community activist Arthur Woodson has made it official that he wants the 2nd Ward seat, and it's my bet he will get it.
Woodson threw his hat into the ring last week for the August 2021 primary race to run for office, saying, "People in my ward won't forget that Maurice Davis endorsed Donald Trump. He is trying to pretend now that he didn't do it, but we can use his own words to prove he's a liar. He endorsed Trump and he can't say he didn't do it because we have his own words on tape. I devote time to trying to always help people and Maurice tried to help Trump. Who do you think people in my ward will vote for in August?"
Pfeiffer scoffed at the idea of someone being charged with making threats to Councilman Davis, saying, "I hope it's not true. Nobody needs something like that. But why are the mayor and the police chief (Terrence Greene) are all over it, yet nobody did any investigation when I was threatened with Mays and Woodson. We have record crime numbers, yet they're running around trying to figure out who was making prank calls to one of the mayor's supporters on the council and they're not going after someone in their own administration who beat up another councilman at a bar."
Let's hope they were prank calls.
Nobody knows for sure in an age when a group of deranged militia members made national headlines for plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and leave her to die on a boat in the middle of a big lake. All that stopped their plan was getting enough money to buy a boat. The ring leader lived on a coach in the back of a business.
When Councilman Eric Mays was sent to the hospital late last year after telling us he was beaten up at a bar by the mayor's long-time friend and Deputy Chief of Staff Murdock, Mayor Neeley immediately responded with a press release blaming Mays for the incident. The State Police recommended a warrant be issued to arrest Murdock, according to Mays who says Prosecutor David Leyton's office is still sitting on it weeks later.
"Politics should not enter into someone getting beat up at a bar, especially an elected official," Mays said.
Woodson and businessman Pfeiffer complained to The Daily Gazette when one of my Editor's Notebook columns included a quote last fall from 8th Ward City Councilman Allan Griggs that they needed to be "eliminated" with Councilman Mays. Griggs was angry about the trio attending a community meeting in his ward at Swartz Creek Golf Course's restaurant to complain about alleged building code violations at a proposed group home for elderly residents in a neighborhood near Miller Road. The residents also made complaints about Griggs voting to approve the group home owner as his ward's representative on the City Planning Commission, contending that she actually lived in the 7th Ward with husband Terry Bankert — a long-time Flint attorney, friend of Griggs and former City Clerk, City Ombudsman and Chair of the Genesee County Democrat Party.
Businessman Pfeiffer, who has unsuccessfully ran three times for Flint's mayoral job, vowed at a city council meeting that laws were broken and he filed a recall petition to remove Griggs from office. Woodson made a vow to the media after a hearing to approve the language that he would "lead the recall" and knock on every door in the 8th Ward to get signatures to put the recall on the ballot.
When former Flint Board of Education President Casey Lester made social media comments about his interest in running for the seat and already lining up strong financial backing, Woodson and Pfeiffer say they put their recall idea on hold when no other candidate surfaced.
"He's worse and Uptown (Development) wants him, so we will take our time and find a better candidate for 2021," said Pfeiffer who crossed his own name off the list. He says Uptown leaders need to be investigated for taking millions of dollars from the state that was earmarked to help Flint residents in the water crisis recovery. "If Casey Lester is who they want, I definitely don't want him, so we need to find a better replacement before we move forward on a recall against Griggs afterall," Pfeiffer said.
As to his comment that "Pfeiffer, Woodson and Mays need to be eliminated" — Councilman Griggs doubled down on it when confronted about it after Pfeiffer and Woodson complained last fall. "They are hurting the city," said the first-term councilman who won in November 2017 by a slim 881-785 margin over Joyce Ellis-McNeal with a strong endorsement in this space. He and Ellis-McNeal ousted incumbent Vickie VanBuren in the 2017 August primary.
No attempt to reach Councilman Griggs for this story was made since his Facebook page reported earlier today that he is "sick" and hospitalized at McLaren Regional Medical Center.
My take on things is that it's fortunate if the guy who made threats to kill Councilman Davis is locked up. Maybe we would have two councilmen in the hospital today if Chief Greene didn't take him off the streets, if indeed the media reports are correct about the suspect being in custody despite the fact our county's chief deputy prosecutor didn't know anything about it.
Pfeiffer commented that maybe he isn't getting press releases from the city either, but suggested that perhaps his office needs to focus on what's going on at Flint City Hall, asking: "Why can one threat be taken so seriously, yet the Griggs threat to have me, Mays and Woodson eliminated is ignored?"
Mays reported five years ago that he, too, was threatened by a fellow council member. He told The Morning Gazette Radio Show that former 5th Ward Councilman Wantwaz Davis "threatened to kill me" and said he told Flint police about it. No charges were ever brought against Wantwaz Davis, who is not related to Maurice Davis.
"He lied and said he didn't threaten me, so it was my word against his word," Mays said in a later interview with The Morning Gazette Radio Show during an unrelated criminal ordeal for Wantwaz. "I guess we see now who the liar is when Wantwaz was busted for drunken driving, then made up a story about someone chasing him on the expressway with a gun after trying to use his office to get out of trouble didn't work," Mays said at the time. "This is serious business when you are threatening a councilman. I remember Johnny Tucker getting murdered and it was never solved. He sat in my seat on the council. They found him dead in the trunk of a car down in a junk yard in Ohio."
The Mays memory from Flint's yesteryear — and what happened in the governor's recent kidnapping plot — provide resounding proof indeed that Chief Greene did the right thing to lock up the guy alleged to have threatened to kill Maurice Davis. If, of course, other media reports are to be believed.
The mayor doesn't send us press releases anymore after we embarrassed him by playing his own words on the air last spring during The Morning Gazette Radio Show. It was during the campaign of his wife for the state legislature. Mayor Neeley called me one evening to complain about my inaccurate reporting that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had given an endorsement to Woodson over the mayor's wife. He said I would be "getting a call from the AG and she was very angry at me, downright furious."
The mayor scolded me for not checking my facts since he said the AG had not endorsed Woodson, saying, "I just wanted you to know I gave the AG your phone number and you will be getting a call tomorrow."
The call never came because no such inaccurate reporting had ever been done on my radio show. Let me check my tape again for you on the highlights of the famous call placed to me by the mayor:
"Hey mayor, did you hear my show this morning? I think you are misinformed," I explained after his opening statement from a number I didn't recognize. He called twice earlier in the day from his normal cell, but I was on the phone with others each time.
"Um no, I don't have time to listen to your garbage with your other six listeners, but a few of my people told me about it," Neeley snapped when quizzed about my show.
My reply: "Well mayor, maybe you better get your facts straight and call the AG back to let her know your people didn't have their facts straight. I didn't do a show this morning. I haven't done a show in six weeks now because of the pandemic. But make sure you listen tomorrow because I will be doing a special show for free with no commercials to make sure everyone knows
Silence. Then mumbling by the mayor. Then no more press releases for us.
Mike Killbreath hosts The Morning Gazette Radio Show weekdays from 7 am until 8 am although on hiatus until March 1. He is also soon launching a new statewide syndicated TV show known as The Michigan Crusaders. He also hosts The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show every Saturday from 9 am until 11 am and The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show weekdays from 6-7 pm on MetroFlintNewsTalkRadio.com.
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Feb. 10, 2021
Meet Mike: Our award-winning Executive Editor
Mike Killbreath is a veteran newspaper man who began hosting a radio show in 2011. He currently serves as Executive Editor at The Daily Gazette while hosting "The Morning Gazette Radio Show" on the local radio air waves live every weekday morning from 7:30 am until 9 am. He will be seen soon on his new syndicated statewide TV show on CW 50 TV that will also be available to more than 4 million TV screens in more than 1.2 million homes across Michigan via Comcast Xfinity and available to all 10 million Michigan residents via the CCN digital signal on Smart TV's, home computers, office PC's, laptops, tablets, smart phones and various other mobile devices. "The Michigan Crusaders" will air at different times in various markets. Mike's background includes winning awards at the state and national levels for investigative reporting, local columns, feature writing, sports writing and sports columns. He has also served as President at the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce since 2011 and has served on its Executive Board since mid-2010. He counts many decades of service to other local Chamber of Commerce organizations and civic groups around his hometown Genesee County area.
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