Two Detroit cops charged in 'Operation Northern Hook' towing probe; one supervised integrity unit

October 27, 2021, 11:45 AM by  Violet Ikonomova

FBI agents outside City Hall in late August

Detroit's corruption woes reached new levels Wednesday as a former ranking member of the police unit tasked with investigating problem cops was charged with wrongdoing as part of a broader federal corruption probe.

Lt. John F. Kennedy, 56, of Rochester Hills, was arrested and charged with bribery and conspiring to commit bribery along with officer Daniel Vickers, 54, of Livonia after allegedly accepting cash and other items from an unnamed towing company in exchange for favors that violated department rules.

Federal prosecutors allege the two took thousands of dollars in cash, cars, car parts, car repairs and new carpeting for Vickers’ home in exchange for promising to steer business to a towing company that was not part of the city's authorizied rotation and providing the company information from an internal investigation. 

The arrests are part of "Operation Northern Hook," which has resulted in the bribery conviction and resignation of former councilmember Andre Spivey and searches on the homes of two of his colleagues, councilmembers Janee Ayers and Scott Benson, and their chiefs of staffs.

The alleged bribery scheme ran from October of 2018 through March of this year, earning Kennedy more than $14,000 and Vickers $3,400, prosecutors allege.

Kennedy, they said, at the time supervised the police department’s Integrity Unit, which is responsible for investigating reports of law violations and professional misconduct by officers and other city employees. However, a Detroit Police Department spokesman said Kennedy has not served on the unit since March 2018. 

If convicted, he and Vickers each face up to 10 years in prison.

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