Detroit's bankruptcy judge says lawsuit in police officers' murder-suicide can proceed

Family of Detroit Police officer Patricia Williams says department knew of abuse history

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - The City of Detroit's law department just got a whole lot busier. Hundreds of lawsuits that have sat dormant since the bankruptcy filing will now have to be dealt with in the next month.

For the better part of a month Judge Steven Rhodes has been asking the city to come up with a plan to dispose of the lawsuits and nothing's happened.

Tuesday the judge used a particularly emotional case as the springboard to force the issue.

Watch: Police officer's family wants to sue city of Detroit.

The judge says a murdered police officer's family can proceed with a lawsuit against the city as long as the city comes up with a plan within 35 days to deal with the other hundreds of civil lawsuits against it.

Judge Steven Rhodes on Tuesday lifted the lawsuit freeze that has been in effect for the city since its bankruptcy filing in order for the case filed on behalf of Officer Patricia Kate William's family to continue.

However, Rhodes also said the city needs to present him with a plan on how it will handle the other 500-700 civil lawsuits against it.

Williams was shot and killed outside the Canton Township Public Library in 2009 by her police officer husband Ed Williams.

Williams then committed suicide.

Patricia's mother, Deborah Ryan, claims both the Canton Police Department and Detroit Police Department were negligent because her daughter had reported abuse from her husband before but no action against him was ever taken.

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