DETROIT -- Michigan State Police troopers are investigating a possible assault by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on a deputy accompanying an investigator for the Wayne County prosecutor Thursday at the home of the mayor's sister, Sheriff Warren Evans said.
Evans said the 6-foot-4 mayor, a former star football player at Florida A&M University, allegedly pushed a sheriff's deputy and knocked him into the female investigator, who was working for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. The officers were attempting to serve a subpoena on Bobby Ferguson, a city contractor and close friend of Kilpatrick.
The mayor's sister, Ayanna Kilpatrick, is married to Daniel Ferguson, a cousin of Bobby Ferguson.
Evans said the officers were cleared to go up to the house by members of the mayor's executive protection unit. He said his deputy was armed and he believes he made a wise decision in leaving the property with the investigator before the incident could escalate further.
"The officer alleges the mayor pushed him with significant force to make him bounce into the prosecutor's investigator," Evans said. "Any time one of my police officers is assaulted, if he was -- and I'm not saying he was -- it's a big deal to me."
State police officials were asked to investigate because of "the politically charged nature of the whole thing," Evans said.
State police met with prosecutors and sheriff's officials late Thursday to discuss the incident. Under state law, assaulting an officer or "duly authorized person" trying to serve court papers is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
James C. Thomas, a lawyer for the mayor, said he does not believe any assault took place. The pair visited the west side home of Kilpatrick's sister to serve a subpoena but "started asking questions, rather than serving the subpoena." The home on LaSalle is next door to where the mayor's mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, lives.
Daniel Ferguson works for Bobby Ferguson, and a Ferguson company truck was parked in front of the home, Thomas said.
The deputy asked Daniel Ferguson if he was Bobby Ferguson and continued to ask questions when Daniel Ferguson said he was not, Thomas said.
The mayor, who was visiting at the time, told the deputy Ferguson did not live there and asked the deputy to leave the property, but he refused, Thomas said.
The deputy continued to ask questions and would not leave, he said.
"He was gently escorted off the porch by the mayor," Thomas said.
"People have the right not to be harassed. People have the right to ask people off their property."
Thomas said he did not know why the subpoena was being served on Bobby Ferguson.
Later Thursday, the mayor was seen leaving the Manoogian Mansion with his wife and children, who were waving.
Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Worthy, declined to comment on the incident or whether it posed a violation of the mayor's bond after Worthy charged Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and official misconduct in a case related to a police whistle-blower trial in 2007.
The mayor is free on a $75,000 personal bond.
The incident follows escalating tensions in recent days between Kilpatrick and Worthy.
On Tuesday, Kilpatrick lashed out at the Prosecutor's Office, claiming Worthy had a personal vendetta in pursuing perjury charges against him.
"She's definitely trying to poison the jury pool. ... Her hope is that the racism of this region will convict me," the mayor said hours before Worthy filed additional evidence with the court claiming he lied under oath in a civil trial about affairs with women other than former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.
Bobby Ferguson, who has been a subject of controversy because of alleged favoritism in receiving city contracts, is on the list of witnesses Worthy expects to call for the mayor's criminal trial.
Ferguson pleaded guilty in 2002 to hitting a former employee with a "hard metal object."As part of the plea, he was sentenced to 10 months in the county jail and five years' probation, which ends in October 2010.
Last month, The Detroit News reported that Ferguson has received at least $170 million in contracts from the city since 2002, including $109 million from the water and sewerage department.
Public records show Ferguson's share of water department contracts rose more than 20-fold since Kilpatrick was elected, contradicting the contractor's claims that his friendship with Kilpatrick has hurt his company's ability to win city contracts.
Worthy charged Kilpatrick and Beatty after pager text messages published in January pointed to a sexual relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty and possible perjury about the nature of their relationship and circumstances surrounding the removal of Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown when they both testified in that civil case last year.
Today, 36th District Judge Ronald Giles will decide whether to release hundreds of text messages filed by Worthy in the mayor and Beatty's criminal case over the objection of defense lawyers.
The incident Thursday involving Kilpatrick is expected to be addressed in court.
Ayanna Kilpatrick's text messages are among those Worthy used search warrants to obtain in connection with her investigation.
Other records released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by The News and the Detroit Free Press show Kilpatrick and Beatty signed a secret deal to keep the messages under wraps as part of the city's $8.4 million settlement of the whistle-blower lawsuits.
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