State Roundup


State of Michigan fines prison food vendor $98,000 
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Corrections has fined its prison food vendor $98,000 for a number of violations, including employees having improper contact with inmates.
The corrections department said Tuesday that Aramark also was penalized for making unauthorized menu substitutions and not preparing the correct number of meals.
According to department spokesman Russ Marlan, most of the improper contact incidents involved Aramark employees and inmates exchanging notes, though he said there was one incident in which an Aramark worker kissed an inmate.
Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler says the Philadelphia-based company is committed to resolving any issues as quickly as possible.
Aramark took over Michigan prison food service operations late last year in a move that eliminated union jobs. The state says the contract will save millions of dollars a year.
Assault at pizza place didn’t bring police response
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint police were not sent to a Domino’s Pizza location when a manager called 911 to report that an employee was being assaulted.
The Flint Journal reviewed the calls made by Heather Napthen. The newspaper reports Wednesday Napthen called 911 three times on Feb. 20 after an irate customer came into complain about a $97 pizza order.
Napthen is heard saying: “Oh my god, this girl is hitting my employee. I need someone out here now.”
A dispatcher responds that no one is available to come and check it out.
Flint Police Chief James Tolbert has said he’s “not quite satisfied” with the way the call went. The chief says he wants all police and 911 department employees to receive public service training.
Medical examiner: Michigan mall death accidental 
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — The January death of a 25-year-old man following a confrontation with security guards at a suburban Detroit shopping mall was accidental, a medical examiner has ruled.
The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office made the determination in the death of McKenzie Cochran, the Detroit Free Press reported, and the autopsy found that the cause of death was position compression asphyxia.
“The security guards were doing their jobs ... acting appropriately,” according to Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Cheryl Loewe, who said “no purposeful act” was involved.
When asked to clarify the cause of death, Loewe said it was a result of “body position with a possible component of compression.”
Lawyer Gerald Thurswell, who is representing Cochran’s family in an $800 million lawsuit, disputes the determination that the death was accidental. He cited video aired by Detroit TV stations shows guards restraining a person identified as Thurswell who says he can’t breathe.
The security guards at Northland Mall “put him on the ground, they crushed his chest to the ground and caused him to be asphyxiated. They killed him,” Thurswell said. “They executed him, they really did. They became the judge and jury, and they executed him.”
Detectives were awaiting autopsy results as part of their investigation. The Associated Press left a message with the Southfield police department Wednesday seeking comment. The department was expected to send the case to the Oakland County prosecutor’s office for review.
Southfield police interviewed witnesses and guards at Northland Mall after Cochran died Jan. 28. Investigators were awaiting autopsy results. Cochran was pepper-sprayed and restrained by at least three guards after a shop owner felt threatened and called for help.
Cochran was treated at the scene by police and paramedics and was pronounced dead later at a Southfield hospital.
The Cochran family’s lawsuit, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court against the guards, their employers and the mall’s owner, alleges that the guards beat, choked, strangled and battered Cochran while keeping him pinned down and preventing him from breathing.
Grand Rapids
Man gets life in prison in robbery, killings of 2 men
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A 25-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder in the robbery and slayings of two men outside a Grand Rapids convenience store has been sentenced to five terms of life in prison.
Michael Norris told Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan on Tuesday that “you got the wrong guy” and “the real killer got a year in jail.”
The Grand Rapids Press reports Norris received two mandatory terms of life without parole for the murder convictions and three other life terms.
Authorities say Norris and Manuel Rosado decided to rob three men leaving a store Sept. 3, 2012. Rosado says Norris unexpectedly shot the three men, killing two and seriously wounding the third. Rosado received a plea deal in exchange for testimony.
Forty-five-year-old Felix Reyes-Santos and 22-year-old Alvaro Carrillo-Menendez died.
Insurance law for abortions taking effect in Michigan 
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A new Michigan law requires residents or businesses wanting health insurance coverage for abortions to buy extra coverage.
Once the measure takes effect Thursday, it will apply to new or renewed health plans. The state says seven of Michigan’s 45 insurers, including giant Blue Cross Blue Shield, will sell supplemental abortion policies to small and large employers.
Democrats and abortion-rights advocates fiercely opposed the legislation when it was approved by the Republican-led Legislature in December. But threats of a referendum or other ballot initiative haven’t materialized.
A thrust behind the abortion law is keeping taxpayer-subsidized plans on Michigan’s new insurance marketplace from covering abortions, an option for states under the federal health care law.
But the measure also applies to employer plans and coverage sold to individuals outside the exchange.