Mayor Bing suspends police chief during probe

Internal affairs officer claims she and Chief Ralph Godbee were romantically involved

By Corey Williams
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing suspended the city’s top law enforcement officer Tuesday amid allegations that the married police chief of police had a sexual relationship with a subordinate.

Chief Ralph Godbee and Angelica Robinson, an internal affairs officer, had been in a relationship that she eventually tried to end, said her attorney, David Robinson.
“There was a sexual relationship between my client and Godbee,” Robinson told The Associated Press on Tuesday evening. “She was trying to end the relationship, and Godbee didn’t want to let it go.”

She posted a photo with her service weapon in her mouth on the social media site Twitter after learning Godbee was at a police conference over the weekend with another woman, David Robinson said.

He said Godbee had other officers locate the 37-year-old Angelica Robinson and put her under surveillance.

“Obviously, it raised the implication of suicide,” David Robinson added. “The story is that she was hurt he was at a conference with another woman. Certainly this has created a lot of pressure. Unfairly, her future is a little bit uncertain. She has to suffer the humiliation.”

Angelica Robinson has been reassigned from internal affairs to other duties.

This is the second time in two years that a Detroit police chief has been embroiled in scandal.

Godbee’s predecessor, Warren Evans, was fired by Bing in 2010 partly because he was romantically involved with a female officer.

“After learning of the allegations regarding Chief Ralph Godbee, I have placed him on a 30-day suspension pending a full and thorough investigation of this matter,” the mayor said in a statement Tuesday that did not specify the allegations.

Godbee could not be reached Tuesday afternoon for comment, police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said.

Angelica Robinson, who is married, told her attorney the relationship with Godbee lasted about a year. Godbee is separated from his wife.

David Robinson said the relationship was consensual.

Without being specific, Robinson said he will approach the city “and see what their position would be and hopefully (the city will) do the right thing” in regard to his client.
“The chief of police exceeded his professional status,” David Robinson said. “He’s breached the trust of the department.”

Godbee and Bing have been assailed by officers in recent weeks over a 10 percent pay cut and implementation of 12-hour workdays to help cut millions of dollars from the police budget. Officers complain the cuts and new work rules are too much to take in a city with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.

The 287 murders committed through Sept. 23 in Detroit are 26 more than at the same point last year.

Godbee was named chief in 2010 after Bing fired Evans.

Evans, a former Wayne County sheriff, was appointed chief by Bing in 2009 and fired after he raised the mayor’s ire by taking part in a promotional video for a cable police reality show. Bing later said he also fired Evans because the chief was romantically involved with Lt. Monique Patterson.

Godbee, too, had a romantic relationship with Patterson before she began dating Evans and when she was Godbee’s subordinate.

The prior relationship between Godbee and Patterson was disclosed publicly after Godbee was named interim chief, and Bing issued a strongly worded statement after its disclosure saying he wasn’t considering firing Godbee for having an affair with a subordinate.

Godbee, 44, joined the department in 1987 and rose to assistant chief in 2007. He later retired only to be reappointed assistant chief in July 2009 when Evans was hired.
Assistant Chief Chester Logan will assume Godbee’s responsibilities during the suspension, Bing said.