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Detroit 1-8-7 LIVE! As art imitates life, the true drama occurs in the streets of Detroit EVERYDAY! However, it doesn’t stop there: it is commonplace in the boardrooms and offices of some the city’s highest-ranking political officials and business leaders. With the rampant popularity of reality television programming, original dramas have taken a backseat to shows like Dog: The Bounty Hunter, The First 48, and Police Women of Cincinnati. Those series that do attract strong ratings, such as the CSI franchise, depict the glamorous, designer garb and expensive eye wear side of police work. For the first time since the end of the network favorite; NYPD Blue, a show has emerged that portrays the “in the trenches” aspect of police work; Detroit 1-8-7. Currently airing on Tuesday nights at 9/8 central on ABC, Detroit 1-8-7 details the gritty, not so glamorous side of an inner-city homicide unit in the unforgiving streets of Detroit, Michigan. The series portrays an array of situations and events, many of which are similar to actual conditions in the show's real life backdrop; The Motor City. Detroit 1-8-7 gives the prime time television audience a glance at the city’s downtrodden economy and real estate, with its boarded-up and dilapidated homes, and a peek into the atrociously high crime rate and offenses ranging from serial rapes to shooters on the rampage. The local news-savvy viewer will recall the recent capture of Detroit's “East Side Serial Rapist” and the police precinct shooting which took place a few weeks back. Raynard Coleman, dubbed the “East Side Rapist,” was recently found to be responsible for at least 7 rapes in East Detroit. He had previously served a 14-year sentence, starting at age 17, for assault with the intent to commit murder. Lamar Moore was mortally wounded by police when he stepped into a Detroit police precinct and began indiscriminately shooting. Moore was said to have kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 13-year-old runaway just 10 days prior to the shooting. He had held the young girl captive in his basement with handcuffs; she escaped from his custody mere hours before the shooting occurred. The deterioration of order in the streets is glaring, but the corruption within the groups that are appointed to serve the city is blinding. The reality is filled with betrayals of Kwame and Bernard Kilpatrick, Monica Conyers, and, more recently, Ronald Zajac. Ronald Zajac, Detroit City Pension Attorney, is the target of an ongoing federal criminal investigation, in which he expects other trustees, and, in essence, the city itself, to foot the bill for his criminal attorney. On February 16th, the national political awareness and action group, Detroiters for a Better Government, organized a 2-day protest in February, at the Coleman A. Young City County Building, against Zajac and the General Counsel for the Detroit Pension Fund. On March 10th, the Detroit Free Press featured a story involving yet another protest held by Detroiters for a Better Government. A few years and two mass objections later, and the city has yet to budge. According to the Free Press, in 2009, with Zajac as legal counsel, pension trustees had few ethical or financial disclosure rules. They were allowed to travel the world with virtually no restriction and accept gifts, trips, tickets and expensive dinners from the money managers, law firms, investment advisers and


others seeking business on the board. The paper also reported in 2009 that Zajac did a million-dollar real estate deal with a businessman whose company managed a bond portfolio for the general fund. Zajac’s influence has proven detrimental to private business owners, agencies, and individuals. Hundreds of millions of dollars of the pension fund has been lost, and, thus far, no one has been brought to justice, including Zajac himself. Zajac’s skewed perception of reality and moral ethics can be likened to that of a real -life alien from the early 90s movie The Puppet Master. Zajac pulled the strings of countless people to do his bidding— maybe some were aware they were being yanked around, but no one tugged back. Spineless and mindless, no one stepped up. Is alien brainwashing too far-fetched? Perhaps. The parallels, however, aren’t limited to science fiction. Zajac also bears a striking resemblance to Keyser Soze from 1995’s The Usual Suspects. Soze is a major underworld figure whose bribes and kickbacks touched both law enforcement and criminals alike. As art often imitates life, the attorney is Detroit’s “usual suspect;” he is simply a Keyser Soze wearing a Ronald Zajac suit. Naturally, it begs to be asked: once a week, on crime dramas across America, criminals are brought to justice. Occasionally, one gets away; the vast majority are apprehended, presumed innocent until proven guilty, and, eventually, proven guilty. In movies, aliens and corrupt humans alike are brought down with a force so swift it could cause whiplash. How is it that, in the real face of corruption, the trustees of the Detroit Pension are sitting on their hands while the General Counsel, subordinates to the trustees themselves, is the target of a federal investigation? More importantly, why hasn’t Ronald Zajac been asked, whether in a manner consistent with proper decorum or not, to step down? Detroit 1-8-7 and similar shows bring a dose of reality to living rooms across the country. Although fictional, viewers should be critical of the point at hand: what is used as a source of entertainment can also serve as an eye-opener to real issues. After your favorite drama ends, tune into the news. The similarities won't go unnoticed. Despite cries of foul play from angry protesters, Zajac still hasn’t been brought to justice. Perhaps Detroit 1-8-7 will air an episode in which angry citizens’ persistence bring down a corrupt city official. One can only hope...


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