A look inside Detroit’s towing scandal: How the scheme worked

2 Detroit police officials charged

The Local 4 Defenders are getting new insight into the Detroit towing scandal and how it worked.

DETROITThe Local 4 Defenders are getting new insight into the Detroit towing scandal and how it worked.

The corruption investigation has involved two Detroit City Council members and two Detroit police officials who have been charged in a bribery scheme.

A 20-page federal complaint charging Detroit police Lt. John Kennedy and officer Daniel Vickers gives key details of how the towing system in Detroit worked.

Federal investigators taped conversations between Kennedy, Vickers, and the owner of an unnamed towing company. Investigators said the officers took bribes to allegedly agree to steer lucrative police towing calls to the owner.

Investigators said an officer would call the tow company to tow a car and it would sit in a lot for weeks, accumulating fees. Retried Detroit police Lt. Tom Berry said the tow company then pays the officers involved.

Read: Detroit changes towing oversight in bid to halt corruption

“They get anywhere from $100 to $200 kickback. The tow company would jack the tow fee up to $900 to $1,000 instead of $125,” Berry said.

Victims of the towing scheme told Local 4 that they didn’t even know their car was towed until a police officer told them. Then the car owner has to pay to get their vehicle back. Detroit residents were the main victims of this scheme.

Watch the video above for the full report.


About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.