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Attorney’s Life Allegedly Threatened in Case Involving Kwame Kilpatrick

By Boyce Watkins, PhD on Mar 24th 2010 12:26PM

Filed under: News, Politics

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The Detroit Free Press obtained copies of a police report describing an incident that took place between the attorneys involved in the case of Tamara Greene, a stripper who was killed execution style after being involved in a scandal related to former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. In the report, filed on June 30, Attorney Norman Yatooma claims that the assistant city attorney John Schapka threatened him with death.

The police report claims that Yatooma’s managing attorney, Robert Zawideh informed Schapka that he and Yatooma plan to depose Bernard Kilpatrick, father of Kwame Kilpatrick. The report then states that the city attorney told Zawideh that if he did such a deposition, he would “end up face down in an alley with a knife in his back.”

The report was filed with police after Zawideh took the news of the confrontation to Yatooma. The report also details further interactions that took place between Yatooma’s camp and that of the city of attorney, Schapka. In a subsequent email, Schapka explained that, “I certainly did not intend to intimate that I was aware of any threat to you.”

“My clear review of the homicide materials and discussions with others leads me to believe that we are dealing with a killer more calculating than most,” he wrote. “A killer with a little less regard for the lives of others. I cannot imagine this individual wishes to be located or identified. Yet, our collective efforts in this civil matter may do just that.”

The Greene family has argued that Kilpatrick thwarted the investigation into Greene’s murder so as not to bring too much attention onto himself. Many in the city of Detroit argue that the murder of Tamara Greene was done like a hit that was intended to kill her. Greene was sitting in a car with her boyfriend at the time and was murdered by a weapon similar to the type issued to Detroit police. The murder remains unsolved to this day.

It appears that the ghost of Kwame Kilpatrick will haunt Detroit for a very long time. I wrote about Kwame yesterday, I am writing about him today, and I’ll probably be writing about him tomorrow. The saga never ends. Ever since I was the keynote speaker at the National Black Law Students Association Annual Convention in Detroit (along with Charles Ogletree of the Harvard Law School), I could feel something in the air of Detroit. The city is a place of despair and endless challenges, and the scandal was just beginning to unfold at that time. Even then, I could tell that this was going to be far deeper than we imagined, but it has even gone beyond my personal expectations. It is my greatest hope that this city, which has gone through so much, can find the peace and prosperity it deserves. The good people of Detroit deserve something better than what their leaders have provided.

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