Flint voters elect 2 ex-convicts

A convicted killer and a man who served probation for felonious assault were elected as council members in a Michigan city long plagued by crime and economic distress.
AP Wire
Nov 8, 2013

Wantwaz Davis, who beat incumbent Bernard Lawler by 71 votes to win a Flint City Council seat this week, served 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1991.

Davis said he discussed his conviction openly with Flint residents.

"The council people are elected. They're going to get sworn in on Monday. Nothing you write about it is going to change it now," Council President Scott Kincaid said. "It's not something that was hidden or should be a surprise to constituents in the Fifth Ward," which Davis will represent.

Davis, who was 17 in 1991 when Kenneth S. Morris was fatally shot at his home, said Morris "went and reached in his pocket, so I reached in my pocket and I shot him. When I found out he later died, I turned myself in. I never intended to shoot Mr. Morris. To this day, I am very remorseful."

Released on parole in 2010, Davis said he does not shy away from his past and that it will help him on the council.

"The elders and youth are looking for someone who actually understands what they're going through and who has rebounded and made something of themselves," he said.

Also elected to the council Tuesday was Eric Mays, who pleaded guilty to felonious assault in 1987 and served a year of probation. Mays said a man had been threatening his life before Mays threatened him with a gun.

"I defended myself," Mays said.

He said the incident happened while he was home for the summer after being accepted to law school, which he said "destroyed my law career."

Two other newly elected members of Flint's City Council have gone through personal bankruptcies.

The city of 102,000 that gave birth to General Motors has struggled economically for decades as auto plants and other businesses have closed. It's one of a number of Michigan cities where Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed emergency managers to oversee their finances.

Michigan doesn't prohibit most felons from seeking elective office after they are released from prison. The exception is for public officials who were convicted of fraud, breach of public trust or similar crimes related to their government positions. They are barred from election or appointment to any state or local office under a constitutional amendment adopted in 2010.

Don Williamson, a former Flint mayor, served three years in prison in the early 1960s on two felony convictions involving business scams. Williamson resigned in 2009 on the verge of a recall election.

Comments

rukidding

This is not news, criminals have always been politicians, and vice versa, ever watch the news? I didn't inhale; I smoked crack, thieves, liars and beggars. "All for one and I'm the one!" Really, how politically correct to elect the known criminials.

Wolf...sheep...clothing...put them together and what do you get?

LessThanAmused

Dang, you beat me to it and said it better on top of it! I'm going back to bed......achoo, achooooo, achoooooooo.......

Lanivan

Get well soon! My grandpa's remedy (and he lived to almost 100):

Hot Toddy - The juice of 1/2 lemon, a tablespoon of honey, and a shot (or 2) of whiskey, mixed and heated up.

Works way better than that Nyquil stuff.

LessThanAmused

I forgot all about that remedy. My dad used to do that for his colds and it worked. I've got everything here but the whiskey...do I have enough energy to get to the store?

We need an alcohol delivery service in this town!

rukidding

Wow, our family has always used that same potion and it does work very well. Maybe it's just that after a couple of doses we no longer care that we feel bad; either way it seems to be effective.

christopher

If Flint was an unsuccessful city I would be concerned. But since Flint is doing so well, this is not really an issue for me.

ggravish

Genius!

SignalMaintainer

I grew up in Flint (actually Burton), and moved here seven years ago due to stuff like this. It seems par for the course with Flint.

Everybody always complains how horrid Grand Haven's elected officials are, but when you compare GH to many other cities on the east side of the state, we are doing just fine.

lady1983

So, he shot and killed someone.... Dick Cheney shot someone in the face in what was one of the most entertaining political "bloopers" in the century. If were to believe in our justice system, he did his time and is now rehabilitated. Maybe its exactly what Flint needs, a person of authority who has no problem strapping.

Tri-cities realist

I guess they should have elected him sheriff instead.

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