Motorists Video-Tape Assault On Student By Group Home
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 5, 2004
NORTHVILLE, MICHIGAN--On March 29, a couple driving on Eight Mile Road witnessed and video-taped a crime in progress.
While stopped at a light, the driver of a teal Pontiac Grand Prix was captured on the couple's video camera punching and slapping a woman in the back seat.
The couple didn't know that the driver was the 39-year-old manager of a local group home, or that the passenger was a 25-year-old resident of the home and a student of Cooke School, which serves students with various disabilities.
"It was blind luck that they came upon this," Northville Detective Sergeant Dave Fendelet said of the couple who turned the video over to police. "They did a civic duty to get involved and bring it to our attention."
Police said several other motorists phoned authorities after witnessing the attack.
According to a story in Wednesday's Detroit News, the incident is one of a growing number of abuses in Michigan's group homes serving people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Last year the state received 1,898 complaints about adult group home problems, compared to 1,300 complaints the previous year.
Some officials blame the troubles on a lack of staff pay and training.
Others say that's no excuse.
"No one should have to be educated not to beat another person or not to neglect another person," Scott Ourth, spokesman for the Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service Inc., told the Detroit News. "Nobody should have to be told thats inexcusable."
"Group home abuses escalate" (Detroit News)