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Detroit block party scrutiny should have come months ago, after teen was killed | Opinion

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Detroit block party scrutiny should have come months ago, after teen was killed | Opinion


The May 18 shooting of Taylor Gladney should have been the Detroit Police Department’s first warning that the city needed to crack down on large gatherings at houses during the summer.

Taylor, 17, wanted to hang out that Saturday night with other teenagers. It was an annual event held in different areas in the city. Her mom, LeCretia McCollough, was apprehensive, but decided to let her go.

Less than an hour later, Taylor was shot and on May 22, her family took her off of life support, ending her life.

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“I’m upset at myself for allowing her to go because of the outcome, but we can’t predict the future or what’s going to happen,” McCollough says. “People get upset (and) they want the families to feel what I’m feeling, but my heart won’t allow me to do so. I would never wish this pain on anybody, but you want answers.”

Detroit police announce block party crackdown after 21 people shot

Now her family, still mourning, is left wondering whether the city should have made moves to curtail neighborhood violence before an astounding 27 people were shot at six Detroit parties during the long Fourth of July weekend.

Taylor’s May shooting, which occurred on Manning Street near Gratiot Avenue, was only a few blocks from the worst of last weekend’s shootings, where 21 were shot Saturday at a party near Rossini Drive and Reno Street, two of them killed.

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More: Detroit block party mass shooting was the state’s worst since at least 2013

“That’s the very frustrating part. I’m angry about (last weekend) because I’m quite sure (police) knew that there was a party going on,” says Taylor’s father Tyrell Gladney.

“I don’t know what police can do, except for when they see a super large gathering, just put some presence there. Just sit there, because that’s not going to stop a family — just having a party — have a party. (But) it will probably stop the guys that’s coming around, just shooting up the parties for no reason. Every time I look at my daughter I have to cry and I get angry.”

The infrequent police presence bothers me, and should annoy anyone else who intimately cares for this city, that it took Police Chief James White and Mayor Mike Duggan so long to roll out their new plan for these “block parties” in city neighborhoods.

Taylor was set to be a senior at University Prep High School, the same school she attended since fifth grade. Her mom says Taylor is the loving, cuddling type of child who rarely got upset with people and was called the mother among her group of friends. The cheerleader also loved her hair and wanted to be presentable at all times.

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“She was just full of life,” says LeCretia McCollough, who’s lost 30 pounds since Taylor’s death. “This pain is indescribable. I am having a hard time, because even at 17, my daughter was such a hugger and cuddler.

“I still wait (for) her at night to come get in the bed with me because she wanted to be rubbed on or she is cold and wanted my body heat. So, I’m having a hard time, especially at night.”

That’s what infuriates me. The city had a chance to come up with a plan months ago and blew it.

But let’s be clear: these are not typical block parties that many of us are used to where the block is shut down at each corner and neighbors gather for an afternoon of fun.

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These are more like street parties where young people take over a block, or gatherings at a person’s house where loud music and people spill into the front lawn or other areas of a neighborhood.

Whatever you want to call them, swift action could have been taken months before last weekend’s incidents. There were over 500 calls since May warning that this was getting out of control, police acknowledged.

Instead, this city — which touts a major comeback — waited until Monday to get results from its leaders.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we want a proactive city government — not one that comes out with plans in the aftermath of international headlines.

By then, it’s too late. Too many lives have been lost, whether it was Taylor or Elijah Reese, a sophomore at East English Village Preparatory Academy who was killed on his way home from school May 22 in the same neighborhood.

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“I didn’t know anything about a ‘red zone’ until my daughter’s situation,” Tyrell Gladney says. “They said that area is known for high crime. If you’re known for high crime, put (in a) high police presence.”

What I’m not understanding is why the Detroit Police Department has not implemented any of what was put in place after a major shooting in 2015, where one man was killed and nine others were injured during a party at a basketball court on the west side.

Police officials and city spokesman John Roach did not respond to an email seeking comment for this story.

Twila Moss, who is Taylor’s aunt, is still upset that there has been little action to help people who are legitimately just trying to have fun.

“I guess I’m angry … Angry, sad and mad at the same time,” Moss says. (I’m) angry that it’s happening to so many of our youth.

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“But the way I’ve been hearing it, it’s more like it’s someone else that’s coming to the party or shooting up these parties when it’s not really the people that’s at the parties. So do we not allow our kids to go out? Do we not allow them to have fun? Do we not have a gathering?”

What angers Tyrell Gladney the most is infrequent communication about his daughter’s killing, for which no one has been charged.

“I understand they have to get leads and stuff like that, but in my daughter’s situation, it took them a minute to come speak to us,” Tyrell Gladney says. “I haven’t or heard a whole lot either unless I reach out to them. (But) I understand the situation is tedious and there’s a lot going on with more shootings every other weekend.”

Having Detroiters safe in their neighborhoods is the most fundamental function of a city government.

Taylor’s killing should have been the start of putting plans in place, not nearly two months later.

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By then — we learned the hard way Saturday night — it was too late.

Darren A. Nichols is a contributing columnist at the Free Press. He can be reached at darren@dnick-media.com or his X (formerly Twitter) handle @dnick12.

Submit a letter to the editor at freep.com/letters.



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Detroit, MI

Detroit Pistons Second-Rounder Lands Standard NBA Contract

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Detroit Pistons Second-Rounder Lands Standard NBA Contract


It’s been a busy offseason for the Detroit Pistons, who have made major changes across the board. As the roster sees a few tweaks, the Pistons recently added two new young prospects through the 2024 NBA Draft.

With their first-round pick, the Pistons took a chance on Ron Holland of the NBA G League Ignite. In the second round, they traded up to acquire Wake Forest freshman Bobi Klintman.

For many teams, it’s typical for a second-rounder to land a two-way contract, splitting time with the main roster and its NBA G League squad. However, it’s certainly not rare for teams to bet on the future of a second-round selection by offering a standard deal.

In this case with Klintman, it appears that the holdup to sign him was because a standard contract was getting negotiated.

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According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Klintman has inked a deal with the Pistons, signing on for four seasons. As Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported, Klintman has multiple seasons guaranteed.

Per Scotto’s report, the Pistons are intrigued by Klintman’s positional size and his shooting ability. With Detroit still on a rebuilding timeline, they have an opportunity to issue playing time to younger players, allowing them the chance to sharpen their tools on the main stage as early as possible.

Klintman enters the NBA as the 37th overall pick. With Wake Forest, he appeared in 33 games last season. Coming off the bench for most of his appearances, Klintman produced five points and five rebounds in an average of 20 minutes. He was successful on 41 percent of his field goals, and averaged 37 percent from three.

In addition to playing at Wake Forest last year, Klintman had a run in Australia’s NBL. He appeared in 23 games, averaging ten points and five rebounds while hitting on 36 percent of his threes.

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Ron Teasley, 97, a star in Detroit and the Negro Leagues honored at Comerica Park

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Ron Teasley, 97, a star in Detroit and the Negro Leagues honored at Comerica Park



Ron Teasley did the unthinkable, when he batted .500 through an entire season for Wayne University. But the 97-year-old’s greatest contribution has come by using his mind and heart to lift Detroiters.

In this age of data and analytics, the interpretation of baseball statistics has changed significantly. But from the perspective of most pure fans, a .300 batting average still is a measurement for success. 

With that said, a .400 batting average for a season at any level of the game remains rarefied air.  

And a .500 season would be simply unimaginable, for most. Unless your name is Ron “Schoolboy” Teasley, who, before playing professionally for the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, batted an even .500 for an entire college season as a member of the Wayne (now Wayne State) University baseball team during the spring of 1945. 

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It’s the same Ron Teasley, now 97 years young, who is the second-oldest living former baseball player from the Negro Leagues. For that reason, and considerably more, Teasley was invited to grace a baseball field once again on Saturday afternoon during the Detroit Tigers’ Negro Leagues Weekend celebration at Comerica Park.

“Dad has a wonderful Detroit legacy that should always be honored,” said Lydia Teasley, who, in addition to being the proud daughter of Ron and the late Marie Teasley, is the executive director of the nonprofit Ron and Marie Teasley Foundation, which is committed to providing scholarships for Detroit youths.

Nearly 80 years ago, readers of the Detroit Free Press were informed that Lydia Teasley’s dad was a rising, versatile athlete worthy of the community’s respect when, in a March 11, 1945, article honoring the Free Press’ 1945 All-City Basketball Team, sports reporter Truman Stacey wrote: “Teasley’s work during the first term was of such a high order that he could not be overlooked.” The visuals accompanying the article included a photo of a smiling Ron Teasley in uniform and knee pads as he prepared to launch a two-handed shot while representing Northwestern High School, where he was vice president of his January 1945 graduating class — the first Black student to captain the basketball team and an outstanding performer on the baseball team.     

A mention of that 1945 Free Press article, and his pose in the accompanying photo, made Ron Teasley chuckle Wednesday evening. And while it is unlikely that Teasley can remember everything that was written about him during the years he starred on the baseball diamond and basketball court, he made it clear that he will never forget the tight-knit Detroit community that inspired him to do great things.  

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“Have you heard of the west-siders? Do you know the boundaries?” Ron Teasley asked with a prideful tone in his voice that could not be denied, as the former Vancourt Street resident reminisced about Detroit’s “old west side,” whose boundaries included Epworth to West Grand Boulevard; Tireman to Warren Avenue; Vinewood to Grand River; Buchanan to West Grand Boulevard, and American, Bryden and Central streets. “We had a lot of doctors, lawyers and teachers in the neighborhood that all of the kids looked up to, and you wanted to be like them.” 

Teasley says he also wanted to be like a group of men that he saw playing baseball near the old Kronk Recreation Center, at 5555 McGraw Ave., when he was 13 years old. This group, which included men that had played in the Negro Leagues, along with Julius Lanier, a supportive neighbor who worked at the nearby Kelsey Hayes plant at Livernois and McGraw, taught Teasley the game and gave him the “Schoolboy” nickname that aligned with Teasley’s studious nature on and off the field. 

“I started practicing with these gentlemen, and then I would wait for my neighbor to come home to play catch, so I was always around people who loved the game,” said Teasley, whose baseball apprenticeship included playing in a national semi-pro tournament at the age of 14, where he declined any payment to maintain his amateur status. “By the time I started playing baseball at Northwestern, the game was kind of like a piece of cake because of the experience I had earlier.” 

The experience Teasley obtained as a teen in Detroit — capped by an exhibition at Dequindre Park, where, as a 19-year-old, he hit a triple off the legendary Satchel Paige — served Teasley well at Wayne. Once there, Teasley’s athletic career was split into two productive and exciting acts, with service in the U.S. Navy that included an overseas tour in the Pacific, sandwiched in-between. Through it all, Teasley, the collegiate athlete, shined while earning three letters in basketball (1945, 1947 and 1948) as a guard/forward; and two letters (1945 and 1947) in baseball, which included setting multiple team records.  

Following his playing days at Wayne, a path to the big leagues seemed like a pretty sure bet. Then, on April 20, 1948, the Free Press reported that the Olean (N.Y.) Oilers, a farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had signed Teasley and former Detroit Miller High School multisport standout Sammy Gee to 1948 contracts. The story, compiled from wire reports, noted in bold type that Teasley and Gee were the “first two Negroes to play in the Eastern circuit.” Teasley’s signing, which occurred after he performed well during a Dodgers spring training tryout in Vero Beach, Florida, made him the eighth Black player to sign with a Major League Baseball franchise in the 20th century, coming on the heels of the debuts of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby with the Dodgers and the then-Cleveland Indians, respectively, in 1947. Wednesday night, while recounting that period of his life, the former Northwestern Colt explained that his plan for working his way up to the Dodgers’ Major League team from the PONY (Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York) League centered on letting his potent bat do the talking.  

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“In 23 games, I had 23 hits. I was batting .270 and I was leading the league in home runs,” recalled Teasley, who delayed completing his education at Wayne to pursue an opportunity to make the Brooklyn Dodgers. “And I had no problems with the fans in New York. We (Sammy Gee and I) were received well.”  

Nonetheless, Teasley did indeed receive bad news when he, along with Gee, were released from the Oilers after the more than solid start to his minor league career that he described. Teasley and Gee had been vying to make a Dodgers team that by 1949 would have three established Black Major League stars: Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe — all former Negro Leaguers — at a time when Black players made up less than 2% of all MLB players.  

“(Negro League legend and Hall of Famer) Buck Leonard spoke to us after we were released and he told us that Black players were not going to be kept by Major League teams as bench players,” Teasley ruefully recalled. His tryout with the Dodgers had been arranged by Will Robinson, who also had coached Gee at Miller High School. “You had to be Hank Aaron or Willie Mays to make it at that time, and they knew we weren’t Hank Aaron or Willie Mays when they signed us. I wish I could say that everything was peaches and cream, but that was the saddest part and it was devastating at the time.”  

There would be more games for Teasley after his release from the Dodgers’ farm system, including the time he spent in 1948 with the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, where Teasley spent some time roaming the same outfield as Hall of Famer Minnie Minoso. Teasley later was a three-time all star while playing in the independent Manitoba-Dakota League. But it was a move that Teasley later made off the field to return to Wayne State, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which set the stage for him to be a true impact player in his beloved Detroit community as an educator and coach.

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“Without a doubt, being a teacher and coach was the best thing that came out of my baseball experience,” said Teasley, who worked 35 years with the Detroit Board of Education, where he taught physical education at Garfield Jr. High, Spain Jr. High and Northwestern High School, while also coaching high school baseball, basketball and golf. “I’m in the Hall of Fame (Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame) because of my students. I have so many happy memories.”  

On Wednesday, Teasley confided that when it came to coaching, he was always happiest coaching baseball. In fact, during the 1970s, after coaching future Detroit Pistons Terry Tyler and Alan Hardy, Teasley chose to stop coaching the boys varsity basketball team at Northwestern because he needed to get an earlier start in preparing the baseball team. 

“I just always thought baseball was more interesting,” said Teasley, who also is enshrined in the Northwestern High School Hall of Fame and the Wayne State University Athletic Hall of Fame. “That’s why, as a coach, I timed all of my practices and charted everything. I wanted to make every practice interesting and fun.”  

And with the same precision that her father ran baseball practices at the Northwestern High School baseball field, Lydia Teasley said that she and her brother, Ron Teasley Jr., will make sure that their father has everything he needs to enjoy Saturday’s Negro Leagues celebration, which will include an interview and fan Q&A and an on-field presentation that she expects her father to participate in at Comerica Park before the Tigers face the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:10 p.m. 

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Thursday afternoon, Lydia Teasley noted the irony of the Tigers hosting the same MLB franchise that her father signed a contract with 76 years ago. And in doing so, she made it clear that it will not be a day of what-ifs for her. Instead, along with her brothers Ron Jr. and Tim, she said she will be celebrating how their father made the absolute most of the opportunity he was given in the game of life.

“We always ask Dad, ‘How did you do all of that?’” Lydia Teasley said while explaining that during her father’s Detroit journey, he never shied away from a new challenge, which led him to take professional photos to accompany his late wife’s stories during her long tenure as a Michigan Chronicle columnist. “Baseball, Navy, back to school; at some point, he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi; then going back to Northwestern to coach and all of the things he did in the community with my mom. It’s just a heck of a legacy and a love story, and a testament to the character of the man. 

“And it never gets old to see him get honored during the celebrations of the Negro Leagues. As a family, we always knew he was great. And now the entire world is getting to know thanks to the MLB and the Tigers. It’s long overdue for all of the men that played in the Negro Leagues to be recognized. And I’m so glad that Dad can represent them and receive his flowers now, because he deserves it.” 

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Scott Talley is a native Detroiter, a proud product of Detroit Public Schools and a lifelong lover of Detroit culture in its diverse forms. In his second tour with the Free Press, which he grew up reading as a child, he is excited and humbled to cover the city’s neighborhoods and the many interesting people who define its various communities. Contact him at stalley@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @STalleyfreep. Read more of Scott’s stories at www.freep.com/mosaic/detroit-is/. Please help us grow great community-focused journalism by becoming a subscriber. 



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Road temporarily closing on Saturday for demolition of Northville Downs

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Road temporarily closing on Saturday for demolition of Northville Downs


Video shows demolition of clubhouse at Northville Downs

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Video shows demolition of clubhouse at Northville Downs

00:13

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NORTHVILLE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — The city of Northville announced that S. Center Street between Cady Street and Seven Mile Road will close on Saturday for the demolition of Northville Downs.

Officials said the street will be closed from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday. The closure could extend to Sunday “in the unlikely event there is a conflict,” according to a news release. Crews will also be working on underground utilities.

Last month, residents expressed concerns over a recent oil spill at the site that the city had said was caused by demolition. Some of the spill had entered the Rouge River. In response, the city installed two booms to address the spill and hired a private contractor to clean up. 

In response, the city installed two booms to address the spill and hired a private contractor to clean up. 

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