Community Helps Police Capture Teens Accused of Raping 90-Year-Old
Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix
August 30, 2010
DETROIT – “Enough is enough,” Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee told a crowd of volunteers earlier this month, rallying officers and citizens in the wake of a series of attacks on elderly women.
Two weeks later, the department is crediting those volunteers — close to 300 strong — with securing information that led to the arrest of three teens accused of beating and sexually assaulting a 90-year-old woman inside her home on the 4000 block of Leslie.
The group, known as the “Detroit 300,” patrolled the neighborhood daily, volunteers working two-hour shifts with two-way radios, flashlights, video cameras and bullhorns.
Organizer Raphael B. Johnson, himself a reformed criminal, told The Detroit News the group’s efforts paid off last week when volunteers persuaded residents to come forward with information on the suspects.
“There were two people we talked to who were able to lead the police to (the suspects),” he said. “We were putting the pressure on for people to tell us what they knew, and they told us what they probably wouldn’t have told the police.”
- - 17-year-old Maurice Randall and 18-year-old Anthony Hardy — were arraigned Saturday on several charges, including first-degree home invasion and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. A third suspect was arraigned in juvenile court on a charge of first-degree home invasion.
Johnson, whose pending nomination to the civilian Board of Police Commissioners has caused controversy, led similar efforts last year to find serial rape and murder suspects.
The “Detroit 300” is expected to continue patrols. A formal announcement on the group’s future is expected this week.
“I think every community needs to do this,” neighbor Phil Griffen told WXYZ. “I think it’s an excellent idea. It’s great for the children to see that they can be safe and that if they want to stand up against crime, it’s okay.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.