Operation Nighthawk parolee compliance check nets multiple guns, drugs

LENAWEE COUNTY, MI – Multiple guns, drugs and stacks of illicit cash in the hands of parolees were seized by police assisting a Michigan Department of Corrections operation conducting parolee compliance checks. Investigators from the Region of Irish Hills Narcotics Office, or RHINO, assisted in MDOC’s Operation Nighthawk Tuesday night, March 30, conducting surprise compliance checks on addresses of parolees in Lenawee County, according to the Michigan State Police. During the operation officers located multiple offenders in violation of parole who were in possession of drugs, drug trafficking paraphernalia and guns, police said. Police seized the following during the operation:One 12-gauge shotgunOne AK-47 style 7.62 x 39 rifleMultiple AK-47 magazines including a 75-round drumOne AR-style .22 CR rifleMultiple AR magazinesOne Glock 9mm handgunThree drum magazine that hold 31, 40 and 50 roundsOne Sig Sauer 9mm handgunTwo Sig Sauer magazinesTwo simulated suppressorsMore than 1,000 rounds of various handgun, shotgun and rifle ammunitionMarijuana and marijuana extractsCrack cocaine$5,000 cashCharges are pending against one offender while another was taken to the Lenawee County JailTroopers from the Michigan State Police Monroe Post, an MSP K9 unit and the MSP Emergency Support Team assisted in the operationMore from MLive:Washtenaw County sees ‘some increases’ to COVID vaccine supply, but expects delays once eligibility expandsMichigan Medicine enacts visitor restrictions due to rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations20% of adults in Jackson are fully vaccinated against COVID-19Health officer leaves Jackson County post as COVID-19 cases rise

Civil rights group sues Michigan prisons for photographing incarcerated Muslim women without hijabs

click to enlarge Shutterstock.comThe Michigan chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for forcing women to remove their hijab for mugshots.The lawsuit represents more than 15 women who are Muslim or members of the Moorish Science Temple of America and were asked to remove their religious headscarves. The images were used for their ID cards and are featured on MDOC's publicly accessible database of inmates.“The stripping of the hijab for a Muslim woman is equivalent of making a non-Muslim woman walk around topless or shirtless in front of men and then publishing them to a website,” CAIR-MI staff attorney, Amy V. Doukoure, told Fox 2 News . “It's embarrassing, it is humiliating, and it is degrading for Muslim women.”Most of the inmates who came forward are housed at the women's Huron Valley Correctional facility in Pittsfield Township.CAIR-MI's executive director Dawud Walid says MDOC's operational procedures for photos is a violation of the inmates' religious beliefs and freedoms, which are protected under federal law.“It is unfortunate and ironic that MDOC, which holds Americans in its custody for legal violations, is not following the law when it comes to reasonably accommodating the religious rights of Muslims,” Walid said in a press release The lawsuit, filed Monday, is not the first CAIR has filed against MDOC for violating Muslim religious rights. Fox 2 reports that since the organization began receiving hijab-related complaints in 2017, they have made attempts to work alongside MDOC and Huron Valley administrators in correcting policies regarding the removal of hijabs for photos.According to Doukoure, MDOC made no effort to address these violations.“It is really important that people understand just because they are incarcerated that doesn't mean they lose their religious liberties,” she said.Fox 2 reached out to MDOC for comment regarding the pending litigation but provided no comment other than they had received it and are in the process of reviewing the claims.

Lesbian prison workers sue over workplace discrimination

click to enlarge Aerial Mike / ShutterstockTwo female corrections officers who are in a romantic relationship are suing the Michigan Department of Corrections over allegations that they were subjected to a hostile work environment while working at Lapeers Thumb Correctional Facility.In a lawsuit filed Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Officer Michelle Wood alleged that she was called homophobic names, taunted, denied a promotion, and subjected to retaliation after she made complaints over the mistreatment. The suit alleges that Woods partner of 17 years, Sgt. Loretta Smith, experienced a hostile work environment as well, and was demoted to the midnight shift as a form of retaliatory discipline after Woods complaints.Wood worked at the Thumb first, and Smith joined her in 2015, when she was transferred from Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility outside of Ypsilanti, according to the Detroit Free Press . After Smiths transfer to the Thumb, the couple could not even converse or eat lunch together, as their heterosexual counterparts would, without judgment, looks, and comments from others," the lawsuit alleges.The MDOC even went so far as to accuse Wood, who was known by all to be a lesbian, of having sex with a male prisoner in an attempt to get her fired, the complaint states.The couples allegations could call the scope of Michigans Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act into question.While officials are in agreement that Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex, as well as sexual harassment, they disagree over the reach and scope of the law in regard to sexual orientation.In 2018, former Attorney General Bill Schuette opined that gay and transgender people are not protected by the law, but current Attorney General Dana Nessel disagrees and told the Michigan Civil Rights Commission it does not have to uphold Schuettes opinion.Due to conflicts such as these, the lawsuit could be a groundbreaking case," Jonathan Marko, Wood and Smiths attorney, told theThe lawsuit which also bring claims under the U.S. Civil Rights Act joins other cases around the country that are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and focus on the reach of the federal law.