Warren Mayor Fouts accused of demanding tape of his behavior during diversity training be destroyed

First black police officer in Warren files lawsuit against city

WARREN, Mich. – A deposition was leaked Wednesday claiming Warren Mayor Jim Fouts demanded a top city official destroy a tape of his behavior during a diversity sensitivity training course.

It's all part of an ongoing lawsuit against Warren by its first black police officer.

The deposition is hundreds of pages long. The officer alleges that discrimination in Warren starts at the top of City Hall, something that has been a thorn in Fouts' side since last year, when insiders leaked tapes of Fouts making disparaging remarks about people with disabilities, women and African-Americans.

Fouts denies it's his voice in the tapes, but voice recognition experts said otherwise.

DeSheila Howlett was the first black police officer ever hired in the city of Warren. Over the years, city officials made her life difficult, according to the lawsuit.

She's suing for discrimination, and her attorney is trying to establish an ongoing pattern on discrimination starting at the highest levels of the city government, including Fouts.

Top city officials are being deposed in the lawsuit, including former diversity coordinator Greg Murray, who was brought in by Fouts after the secret recordings were leaked in 2016.

In Murray's deposition for the lawsuit, he said he feels he was brought in for the sake of political expediency. He then relayed how he had to call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to apologize for Fouts' behavior.

"I contacted them to apologize for the behavior of the mayor at the EEOC training where, in a disparaging way, he mocked persons with Tourette's syndrome," Murray said.

Murray had set up EEOC training for the city's top officials.

"During the training, Mayor Fouts made some very disparaging comments and mockery of a person with Tourette's syndrome," Murray said. "There were quite a few witnesses to that."

Murray described Fouts as mimicking the person with Tourette's syndrome and waving his hands. Murray said under oath that Fouts asked him to destroy the tape of the EEOC training.

"He was concerned that it might draw a connection to the first tape that was released that dealt with him describing people with disabilities as deserving of being caged, and things of that nature," Murray said.

About the Authors:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.