Two white men accused of beating a black Michigan State trooper for dancing with a white former assistant prosecutor at a bar face a second trial starting tomorrow in heavily white Livingston County.
Local leaders say they would like nothing better than ridding themselves of the racist image that has clung to the once-rural area, now a fast-growing part of suburban Detroit”s outer fringe.
The case grows out of an April 20, 2001 attack on off-duty Trooper Arthur Williams III on the dance floor of the Metropolis Bar & Grill in Brighton.
Authorities say two cousins, angry at seeing a black man dancing with a white woman, shouted racial slurs, punched Williams and smashed his face with a bottle. He had surgery to rebuild an eye socket.
“It”s a painful thing when something like this happens,” said Lee Reeves, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce in Howell, the county seat. “The prosecution is taking it very seriously.”
Jasen Barker, 22, and Travis Sales, 21, were jailed on ethnic intimidation and assault charges. Their two-week trial in November ended in a deadlock. After the trial, a majority of the jurors asked to meet with Williams and expressed regret that they couldn”t reach a unanimous verdict.
County Prosecutor David Morse sought a retrial, which is set to begin tomorrow before Circuit Judge Stanley Latreille. He also presided over the first trial.
“I am really pleased that our prosecutor is pursuing this,” said Brighton City Councilman Steve Manor, a retired teacher and a co-founder of the racial tolerance advocacy group Livingston 2001. “This behavior will not be tolerated.”