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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 upset, still accepts acquittal

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By Dan DuChene
Nov. 20, 2008    ·    2:14 a.m.


Yesterday a federal jury acquitted the man accused of brutalizing his brother and causing his death, he says he has to live with that now.

“It was the jury’s decision,” James Lee said after hearing about the verdict. “My brother is still gone.”

Lee’s brother, Clifton Lee Jr., died in June 2006 after an altercation with Washtenaw County Sherriff’s deputies near his home in the West Willow neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township. The incident started when the unarmed Lee involved himself in a traffic stop.

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 as they were attempting to restrain Clifton Lee.

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.

Joseph Eberle, one of the deputies involved in the struggle, stood trial in federal court for civil rights violations involving Clifton Lee’s death. Two more deputies were named in a separate case involving both the death and injuries to another Lee brother, Bruce.

Eberle’s trial was the first. It started last month and lasted until Monday with closing argument. It ended yesterday when the Jury decided Eberle had not violated Lee’s civil rights by over-zealous policing. He could have faced life in prison.

During the trial, video of the struggle showed a violent scene ending with several officers standing over a motionless Lee. On the tape, Eberle then kicked Lee in the head. That action had been a point in the trial.

Even though James Lee says he and his family are not happy with the acquittal, they accept it.

“We understand,” he said. “We expect this kind of stuff.”

Lee compared the events in West Willow more than two years ago and the outcome of this trial with events during the civil rights struggles of the sixties.

“It’s not like it’s something new,” he said. “I hate to see us going through this once again.”

Leading up to the night of his brother’s death, Lee said his neighborhood was often harassed by police. Since then, he said, the over-policing and harassment in his neighborhood has gone down and things have calmed. He said he’s not sure what to expect now.

Even though he said the situation in his neighborhood has improved, and a trial more than two years in the making, with little updates from officials involved, has come to a close, Lee said he and his family feel a “complete lack of closure.”

He said it is unlikely his family ever will be able to get closure from the events.

“Life goes on,” Lee said. “The Eberle’s are still living and my brother is not”

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