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Articles by Aaron Miguel Cantú

Detroit's Hidden Crack Casualties

by Aaron Miguel Cantú, The Intercept

Clara Hill is certain the boys didn’t kill anybody. She has known since she was 14 years old – almost three decades ago. But when she tried to tell police the truth, she says, they hurt her.

It was the spring of 1987, when Hill was seized by the Detroit Police Department and dragged to a dark room to be questioned about the murder of a young man named Leonard Ruffin, shot to death in front of a crack house in the West Side of the city. Three of Hill’s teenage friends, who managed the crack house with Ruffin, were being accused of plotting his murder. But Hill insisted that this wasn’t true. She was with them at the time. But it didn’t matter.

Police refused to believe her version of events, Hill told The Intercept. “They harassed me, they assaulted me, and then they terrorized me. They put me in a damn closet. They waited until I urinated on myself. And I sat in that urination for hours, do you hear me? I don’t even know how long I was in that building. … All I know is it was dark.”

Hill says ...