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Worthy turns down warrant request for Detroit fire union chief

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Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has turned down a request to charge the head of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association with a crime for Facebook posts that highlighted slow police response to a crime scene.

The Detroit Police Department submitted the warrant request for Fire Captain Mike Nevin.

Nevin posted some fire department dispatch reports to Facebook in November. He said he did it to illustrate slow police response to 911 calls, leaving firefighters without protection, including one instance where firefighters responded to a murder scene and were forced to take cover under their truck.

The police maintained Nevin broke the law because the reports identified two potential witnesses to the fatal shooting. But Worthy said those dispatch reports aren’t confidential and there’s no law against making them public.

“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence in the case it has been determined that no crime has been committed,” Worthy said in a press release explaining the charging decision. “The information disclosed is not covered by the Law Enforcement Network statutes and is not confidential pursuant to any other Michigan statutes.”

Nevin’s lawyer Mike Rataj says his client is “pleased” with Worthy’s decision, saying Nevin’s revealing the potential witnesses’ identities “did not even come close to the level of obstruction of justice.”

Rataj calls the effort to charge Nevin “nothing short of retaliation” for exposing problems with the city’s first responder systems.

“There’s been incident after incident after incident where firefighters show up at a crime scene, and there’s no police to protect them,” Rataj said. “The city is not safe. Firefighters are not safe. There’s not enough police officers in the city of Detroit, despite what you hear from the [Duggan] administration.”

Nevin has publicly complained that both the city’s police and fire departments are undermanned.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig could not immediately comment on Worthy’s decision not to charge Nevin on Tuesday. Previously, Craig has said police were not as slow to respond to the crime scene as Nevin suggested, and denied that the investigation and warrant request were any form of retaliation.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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