Ypsilanti Citizen Community Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Brother hopes trial's end will heal death


By Dan DuChene
Nov. 15, 2008    ·    8:11 a.m.

It has been nearly two and a half years.

Formalities related to the death of Clifton Lee Jr., who died during an altercation with Washtenaw County Sherriff's Deputies, are coming to a head.

"You can't start healing until you remove the knife that's in you," said Lee's brother, James.

Clifton Lee Jr., 45, died after a confrontation with Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputies on June 1, 2006 in the West Willow neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township.

The cause of death, reported by Bader Cassin, Washtenaw County's medical examiner, was asphyxia due to the weight of several people pressing his chest against the ground.

A wrongful death suit was filed by the Lee family shortly after the incident. The civil case was eventually settled earlier this year, with a $4 million payment to the family.

The criminal case found its way into the hands of federal prosecutors, who filed charges against deputies Joseph Eberle, Eric Kelly and Sgt. Shawn Hoy. The three stand accused of civil rights violations.

Eberle's trial began earlier this month, testimonies wrapped up Thursday in Detroit. Closing statements and jury instructions are set to begin Monday.

The remaining two deputies are listed under a separate case number.

James Lee said he had taken two weeks off from his job with the Ford Motor company to attend the trial with other members of his family.

"It was real dramatic," Lee said, when asked about watching his brother’s last few minutes in court. Video captured from the patrol car was played in open court during the proceedings.

"I watched my sibling get killed," Lee said of watching the struggle.

The worst part for Lee, he said, was a kick Eberle delivered to Lee's head after it appeared he had lost consciousness.

"That was straight racist," Lee said.

The incident started when Lee interfered with a traffic stop near his home, when he and his brother Bruce became aware their nephew had been pulled over.

Both men were unarmed, and wound up in a violent confrontation with police. While Clifton was pronounced dead that night, Bruce was arrested after sustaining injuries.

The Lee brothers, Lee and Bruce, are named as victims of civil rights violations that night.

"It was like a clan killing," James Lee said. "We're looking for justice. My brother is no longer here."

Leading up to the events that night, Lee said he spoke to his brother Clifton regularly about police activity in West Willow.

"It was like the police were terrorizing the neighborhood," he said.

Since the death, however, Lee said police activity has "calmed down dramatically."

It was not only the violence, but some of deputies' comments captured and played in court, that Lee said point to the deputies' motives that night.

He specifically pointed out the words, "Welcome to your neighborhood," which Deputy Aaron Hendricks, Eberle's partner, had said over Lee's motionless body after the struggle.

"They weren't concerned with anyone out there in the West Willow community," Lee said. "Hopefully they'll all be in (prison) with each other."

Eberle's defense attorney, Rick Convertino, could not be reached for comment.

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