Editorial Roundup: Michigan

Detroit News. June 18, 2022.

Editorial: FBI must release review in killing of extremist

Whenever a citizen dies at the hands of law enforcement, the public is owed a full accounting of why it was necessary to use lethal force. The federal government has yet to explain the decision by agents to shoot and kill Eric Mark-Matthew Allport outside a Madison Heights restaurant in October 2020.

Allport, 43, was not a sympathetic figure.

He lived next door to, and was friends with, Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed in an FBI siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. He later served an 11-year sentence for shooting at police officers and supported the anti-government Boogaloo movement.

That history may have something to do with the failure thus far to disclose the details of his death, which occurred during a daytime shoot-out in a Texas Roadhouse parking lot in Madison Heights. He was shot seven times, according to the autopsy.

The FBI describe Allport as an anti-government extremist known to have a cache of weapons, including an illegal machine gun, which the FBI said was found in his truck at the scene. He was wanted on an illegal possession charge at the time of the shooting.

An FBI agent was reportedly wounded during the exchange, and the implication is the agent was shot by Allport.

The bureau has acknowledged to The Detroit News that its review of the incident was completed last fall, but thus far has been unresponsive to requests for its release. It took The News more than a year just to obtain the autopsy, which also is a public document.

Several questions remain, including:

► Why was Allport confronted in broad daylight in the parking lot outside a post office and restaurant? Was any consideration given to the danger presented to bystanders? Why did they choose not to arrest him at his home or business?

► The confrontation came five days before federal agents rounded up the suspects in the kidnap plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and just a month before the 2020 election. Is there a connection? Was the intent to take a sympathizer off the street to minimize the risk of a violent response to the arrests?

► Did Allport shoot the wounded agent, or was the injury caused by friendly fire? An FBI spokeswoman, in a statement to The Detroit News, said Allport drew a handgun and fired at officers. Do civilian witnesses corroborate that account?

► What is the justification for withholding the official review?

The handling of this federal shooting differs markedly from the way the Justice Department reacted following the killing by law enforcement in 2009 of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, an imam at a mosque on Detroit’s west side.

The government, then under intense community pressure, eventually disclosed the details of that investigation. The conclusion was that the imam was armed and threatening.

And already the Justice Department has released more about the death of Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by a U.S. Capitol Police lieutenant during the insurrection on Jan. 6.

There’s no such public outcry surrounding Allport’s death. But there shouldn’t have to be.

As we’ve learned over the past two years of intense scrutiny of police shootings, the character of the deceased is immaterial.

Secrecy works only to build suspicion. Nearly two years is too long.

“When you have law enforcement shootings, it’s appropriate to demand greater transparency,” Suffolk University Law School professor Michael Avery, past president of the nonprofit National Police Accountability Project, told The News. “What haven’t we been told?”

That’s the key question. The government’s review might help answer it. It should be released immediately.

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The Mining Journal. June 14, 2022.

Editorial: New nurses’ contract at UPHS-Marquette a positive development

Hats off to the Michigan Nurses Association and UP Health System-Marquette which announced over the weekend that a new contract had been successfully concluded.Talks started in the spring and proceeded, by all accounts, apace since that time.

Union personnel approved the agreement late last week with the hospital some time earlier.

“This contract makes UPHS-Marquette a more rewarding place to work so we can attract and keep nurses who are committed to our community and making the hospital the best it can possibly be,” said Stephanie DePetro, a nurse, president of the MGH RN Staff Council and vice president of the Michigan Nurses Association Board of Directors. in a statement.

Noted UPHS-Marquette chief executive officer Gar Atchison: “From day one, our leadership team was committed to updating the contract in a way that assured that we could continue providing high-quality care to the community, retain our outstanding, seasoned nurses and be a leader in recruiting clinical talent to our team.”

The new pact, retroactive to June 1, which is when the previous contract expired, includes:

≤ competitive wage increases over the life of the contract;

≤ increased differentials for various shifts, charge nurse duties and specialty certifications; and

≤ an evaluation of RN experience in determining proper placement on the wage scale.

Specifics weren’t provided.

All of this, of course, must be viewed as good news, especially considering previous contract talks between the sides were something less than cordial.

We’re betting the sides came away not with everything they wanted but when something they could live with.

And that is the essence of successful negotiations.

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Alpena News. June 16, 2022.

Editorial: Give us our gas tax holiday, already

The state Senate has passed a bipartisan measure to pause the gas tax and sales and use taxes on fuel between now through Sept. 15.

The state House needs to pass the measure without delay.

As of this writing, the gas prices in Alpena ranged between $5.03 and $5.09, according to GasBuddy, and that unbelievable price comes on top of higher prices for everything else.

The Senate-passed proposal would save customers roughly 50 cents per gallon as soon as gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs it, and we need that relief now.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the measure would cost roughly $800 million in lost state revenues, but the state’s sitting on a big surplus now and can afford to provide Michiganders relief at the pump.

The issue has been batted around the state for weeks, and it’s time to get this settled.

We call on the state House to pass the Senate-backed measure and send it to Whitmer, and for Whitmer to sign it.

Get us the help we need.

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