Ex-Head of Detroit Police Integrity Unit Pleads Guilty to Bribery in Towing Scandal

August 24, 2022, 12:34 PM


The irony can't get much richer than this: The former head of the Detroit Police Integrity Unit taking bribes.

Former Detroit Police Lt. John F. Kennedy, who headed the department's Integrity Unit, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiring with another Detroit police officer to take bribes in connection with the towing scandal in Detroit. The Integrity Unit, part of the department's Internal Affairs Division, is responsible for investigating allegations of professional misconduct by police and other city employees.

Specifically, Kennedy, 57, of Rochester Hills, conspired with fellow Detroit police officer Daniel Vickers to take bribes and other items of value in exchange for Kennedy using his influence to persuade officers to make tow referrals to a towing company in violation of the city’s ordinance and Detroit Police Department policy.

Under the city’s towing rotation, qualifying private towing companies are called by the police to tow stolen or seized vehicles. But Kennedy and Vickers circumvented the system by making towing referrals directly to a towing company which was not on the rotation, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. 

Additionally, authorities charged that Kennedy and Vickers solicited thousands of dollars in cash, cars, car parts, car repairs and new carpeting for Vickers’ home, in exchange for providing the towing company that Kennedy was investigating with information on the case. 

In all, between October 2018, and March 2021, Kennedy accepted over $14,000 in cash, cars, and car repairs as a bribe from the owner of the towing company. 

He faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

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