Half of the candidates running for mayor of Detroit are convicted felons, according to Detroit News. Of the eight hopefuls, four have been involved with crimes ranging from drugs and assaults to weapons. The earliest conviction dates back to 1977 but the most recent occurred just nine years ago.
According to the report, three of the candidates were charged with gun crimes, two of which involved intent to murder. An NAACP activist and a former press secretary to a Detroit mayor thinks the convicted felons deserve a chance just like anyone.
“Black marks on your record show you have lived a little and have overcome some challenges,” Greg Bowens said. “They deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important elected position.”
This is the first mayoral race since the Motor City emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Detroit News notes how felons fall under election laws:
Under state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office as long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of certain fraud-related offenses, or crimes involving a breach of the public trust.
Below is a redaction of The Detroit News' review of each candidate's criminal background. Here's how these good folks have just "lived a little:"
First-time contender Donna Marie Pitts, 58, has multiple felony convictions dating back to 1977, according to court records in Wayne and Oakland counties.
In 1977, Pitts was convicted of receiving and concealing a stolen 1977 Oldsmobile. She was sentenced to a year of probation.
A decade later, she was charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder and two firearm offenses in connection with two separate shooting incidents on March 24, 1987, Detroit Recorder’s Court records say.
According to transcripts, Pitts was involved in a shootout with the owner of a collision shop and auto clinic on Greenfield in Detroit in a dispute over a repair bill.
Pitts had another run-in with police in Troy in September 2000 when she was stopped in a residential neighborhood and arrested for fleeing and eluding and operating a vehicle without a license.
Pitts was stopped by police on Dec. 2, 2002, on Ford near Norborne for an improper plate and failure to wear a seat belt.
A .38 caliber handgun — which Pitts said belonged to her sister — was found on the front floor board of the truck. She was ordered to serve 40 to 60 months in prison in April 2003. She was paroled in August 2006, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Fellow candidate Danetta L. Simpson has a 1996 felony conviction out of Oakland County for assault with intent to murder.
Another candidate, Articia Bomer, a document specialist who touts a culinary background and musical talents, was charged in 2008 with carrying a concealed weapon.
Candidate Curtis Christopher Greene was charged with a felony at age 19. Greene was charged in 2004 with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police during an attempted traffic stop in Harrison Township as well as delivering and manufacturing marijuana.