Detroit Stories:  Season 1, Episode 2:  The Killing of Daniel Thomas--Aftermath.

Detroit Stories: Season 1, Episode 2: The Killing of Daniel Thomas--Aftermath.

It's December, 1968.  Michael Polchlopek has been remanded to the Wayne County Jail since his arraignment in June 1967 for the "Killing of Daniel Thomas,"  a black twenty-four Vietnam Vet who was shot and killed in Detroit's Rouge Park while protecting his wife from an alleged sexual assault.  Detroit Police Homicide detectives worked this case exceptionally well.  They arrested the suspect within hours of the crime.  They rounded up numerous witnesses/participants who may have been involved in the melee leading to Daniel Thomas's death, but now they only wished to save their own asses.  The police recovered the alleged murder weapon.  The prime suspect gave a signed confession to detectives.  It would outwardly appear to be a slam dunk for the prosecution...

But this was Detroit, immediately after the most destructive riot in the nation's history.  There were raw feelings across southeast Michigan, as Detroit was in the midst of dynamic demographic change that white people resisted with openly hostile Neighborhood Associations  and other targeted means that only heightened racial tensions . 

Things certainly weren't the same as they were before the riot.  What appeared to be a court room slam dunk was anything but.  Suddenly, there were myriad, centuries old cultural factors playing out in a Detroit Court Room.  This leads to the question: Would the person the police say shot and killed Daniel Thomas be bought to justice?    Or would he, too, as so often happened in the America of the 1960's, escape justice "just because..." 

These are true stories from the Detroit I knew growing up in the Motor City. Aint none of this shit made up....

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