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Across Black America Week of Sept. 14, 2017

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 9/14/2017, midnight

Michigan

When Robert Williams III graduated last spring from a Detroit public high school, sticking around town to go to college at Wayne State University was a no-brainer for him, reports the Detroit News. He gets to be around his family, be a part of the community and participate in Detroit's evolution. “It's in the area, and I love my city,” said Williams, who graduated from the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine in Detroit. “I see no reason to leave.” But Williams, 18, is an anomaly. He is among the small number of African-American students from Detroit Public Schools Community District heading to Wayne State. And those numbers have plummeted over the past decade—from 168 men and 348 women newly enrolled in 2006 to 33 men and 54 women in 2016, the latest data available from WSU. The 87 new African-American students from Detroit's public schools represent a fraction of the 27,298 students enrolled in 2016 at Wayne State, a university in the heart of a city working to reinvent itself. Some have framed the drop as a barrier to Detroit's revival—and Wayne State's hopes to be part of it. “Wayne State has always had a wall around it, and it's been disconnected for far too long,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of Al Sharpton's National Action Network, a civil rights organization. “They need to do more to tear down that fortress of being a Midtown institution by getting into the neighborhoods ... otherwise, they can't take part in the Detroit to come.” But WSU officials say the situation involves more than enrollment numbers, and that they are working to not only enroll Black students but bring them to the finish line of graduation.

Pennsylvania

Six Black Philadelphia Police Department narcotics officers say their two White supervisors are racist and corrupt, according to two Black civic leaders and an attorney for the officers, reports Philly.com. Rochelle Bilal, Guardian Civic League president, said at a news conference at the organization's Girard Avenue headquarters that the two narcotics supervisors—Chief Inspector Anthony Boyle and Inspector Raymond Evers—should be removed from their posts. Two of the Black officers filed complaints about Boyle and Evers with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in late August, according to Center City attorney Brian R. Mildenberg. One of the complaining officers is Staff Inspector Debra Frazier, the unit's highest-ranking Black official and its integrity officer, and the five others have decided to remain anonymous because they are afraid of retaliation, Mildenberg said. A civil lawsuit is being explored, he said. Complaints against Boyle and Evers include: allowing a White corporal to park his Confederate-flag-decorated car on city property; encouraging officers to falsify documents and evidence related to arrests; and denying Black officers equal opportunities for overtime and work assignments. Boyle allegedly referred to Black civilians as “scum” and to Black civilian slayings as “thinning the herd,” Bilal and Mildenberg said. No evidence was offered at the news conference to support the allegations.