Daily Briefs

Detroit cop charged in high-speed crash that killed lawyer

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter for a crash that killed a lawyer in February, authorities said Thursday.

Officer Teaira Funderburg disregarded a red light while rushing to help another officer when her patrol vehicle smashed into a car driven by Cliff Woodards, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said.

Funderburg was charged with involuntary manslaughter and willful neglect of duty. It wasn’t immediately known if she has a lawyer who could comment on the case.

“Proper investigations take time and that is what we strive for in every case. ... It’s true that Mr. Woodards was respected in his profession, but the facts and evidence are what caused us to charge in this case,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

After the crash, then-police Chief James Craig said he found the incident “troubling,” noting the high speed of the patrol vehicle.

The crash occurred around 1 a.m.

Woodards was a defense attorney who regularly had cases in Wayne County courts.

Detroit extends emergency order allowing online meetings

DETROIT (AP) — An emergence in COVID-19 variant cases has prompted Detroit to extend an order permitting in-person meetings without violations of the Open Meetings Act.

Denise Fair, the city’s chief public health officer, issued a public health order Wednesday moving in-person restrictions to July 31.

The order came a day after state limits on large indoor gatherings such as weddings and funerals ended, and entertainment businesses and other venues were allowed to return to 100% occupancy.

Detroit said Wednesday in a release that the spread of variants in the city and surrounding communities, the city’s vaccination rate and certain in-person meetings “pose a substantial risk.”

“Multiple governmental bodies in Detroit have directly communicated the desire to have the flexibility to hold hybrid meetings, with both in-person and virtual components due to the lack of space to be able to physically distance themselves,” Fair said.

“We recognize the importance of conducting open and transparent government meetings but we need to do so in a manner that does not jeopardize the public’s health and safety.”

The order can be rescinded before July 31.

The so-called COVID-19 delta variant, which was first detected in India, now represents more than 20% of coronavirus infections in the U.S. in the last two weeks.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and public health officials have said statewide restrictions were needed until enough people in Michigan could be vaccinated.

Whitmer wants the state’s vaccination rate up to at least 70%. Roughly 61% of residents ages 16 and older have received at least one shot. Detroit’s vaccination rate for residents 12 and older is about 37%.

The city has had more than 51,400 confirmed virus cases and 2,270 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.


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