Half of the eight candidates who will appear on the primary ballot for Detroit’s mayoral race are felons, according to a report by the Detroit News.
The News reported that three were charged with gun crimes, and two for assault with intent to commit murder. The earliest was reportedly committed in 1977, and the latest crime in 2008.
Greg Bowens, an NAACP actives and onetime press secretary for Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, told the News that having felonies on your record isn’t new — nor is it isolated to Detroit.
“Black marks on your record show you have lived a little and have overcome some challenges,” Bowens said. “They (candidates) deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important elected position.”
According to the News, Michigan state election law allows convicted felons to vote and to seek public office “as they are not incarcerated or guilty of certain fraud-related offenses, or crimes involving a breach of the public trust.”
The candidates with prior felony convictions include Donna Marie Pitts, 58, who has multiple felony convictions, according to court records obtained by the News. The convictions include two counts of assault with intent to murder and two firearm offenses in connection with two separate shooting incidents on March 24, 1987. Pitts served four years and eight months in prison and was paroled June 1, 1992.