Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was in his first term and Tamara Greene, a stripper known professionally as Strawberry, allegedly performed for a party at the Mayor’s mansion in September 2002. Supposedly, Mrs. Kilpatrick had been out of town and came home unexpectedly and confronted Greene. In this theory, Greene was executed because she knew too much about sex, politics and power in Michigan’s largest city.
What is undisputable is that Greene died in a hail of drive-by gunfire about 3:40 in the morning on April 30, 2003. In the driver seat, she was shot 18 times; three shots were fatal. Her boyfriend, Eric “Big E” Mitchell was hit by five bullets but he survived. The bullets were .40 calibers, fueling many to believe that the killer was a Detroit police officer. Detroit police are armed with a .40 caliber Glock.
There are problems with this conspiracy theory, however. There is no evidence that Greene ever performed at the mansion or that Mrs. Kilpatrick walked in on the party. A number of weapons fire .40 caliber bullets but Glocks are common on the mean streets of Detroit. Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory survives because of Kilpatrick’s legal problems, which is recounted better at http://spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13016. Some believe that Kilpatrick fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown because he headed an investigation of the mansion party and Greene’s death.
This is news again because a judge in the suit brought by Greene’s relatives against the city for failing to book her killer asked for homicide files and text messages related to her death. Detroit says the pagers used in 2003 were discontinued in 2004 and there are no longer any records of text messages. Detroit also fought turning over the files, saying police have new leads.
Detroit police say they have new leads, five years after the crime? In 2003, Detroit was in the grip of a murderous rampage which periodically plagues big American cities. Greene was Detroit’s homicide number 113 of 366 in 2003. About half were never solved, including hers.
This is what we know from corroborated testimony by Mitchell and another stripper who was present at a party in Southfield, a suburb just across Eight Mile Road from Detroit. Greene danced for drug dealers, thugs and well-known street toughs in early April 2003. A short man with a light complexion and a record for selling cocaine wanted to have sex with Greene. When she refused, he blackened both her eyes. A giant of a man, Mitchell fought with the smaller man and prevailed.
Greene’s leased BMW was shot-up about a week after the party. Her replacement Buick was idling in gear in front of Mitchell’s home in Detroit when she died so it meandered down the street. Mitchell said he saw an arm with a light complexion holding a pistol out the window of a passing sport utility vehicle and dove for cover in the foot well.
A professional hit would not have left Mitchell alive as a potential witness if Greene was the intended target. Whoever fired the shots sped off instead making sure Greene and Mitchell were both dead, which is why the killing looks more like retribution for the Southfield party and less like a professional job by Detroit police.