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Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee resigns amid sex scandal

Rebecca Cook / Reuters, file

Police Chief Ralph Godbee, pictured on Jan. 6, has resigned from the Detroit Police Department amid claims of an affair with an officer.

The chief of the Detroit Police Department has resigned from the force amid allegations of a sex scandal.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing told reporters at a press conference Monday that Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. is retiring due to allegations that he engaged in a relationship with a subordinate female police officer.

“It hurts me a great deal it has come to this,” Bing said. “I told him what my expectations were. He didn't live up to those expectations.”

Still, Bing said he didn’t force Godbee to step down, the Detroit News reported. Godbee submitted a letter of resignation Sunday.


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“It is with great honor and respect that I announce my retirement from the Detroit Police Department,” the letter said. “This will be effective immediately. I am thankful and forever indebted to the residents of this great city for allowing me to serve this community for over 25 years.”

Bing placed Godbee, who is married, on a 30-day suspension last week and ordered an investigation into claims that the senior cop dated Angelica Robinson, an internal affairs officer who has been with the department for 17 years.

Godbee’s departure Monday is the latest in a slew of Detroit city leaders who have faced accusations of a sexual relationship with a subordinate, including Godbee’s immediate predecessor, Warran Evans, and former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Assistant Chief Chester Logan assumed the duties and responsibilities of police chief in the interim, but declined to say Monday whether he was interested in the job permanently, the Detroit News reported.

In his letter, Godbee said he would remain active in the Detroit community.

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“As many of you know, retirement is only another way to say transition,” he said. “I always will be actively engaged in our community, our school system, our community colleges and our churches. My mission is to continue to work hard to make this city the best it can be.”

Court records show that Godbee filed for divorce from his wife in August and that a settlement conference has been scheduled for Nov. 26.

Robinson, who is also married, told NBC station WDIV that she was in a sexual relationship with Godbee for more than a year. On Friday, Robinson’s attorney said she was considering suing the city after authorities confiscated her department-issued weapon and sent her for a mental evaluation because they were concerned she might harm herself, the Detroit News reported. She was declared fit for duty last week and given back her weapon.

Considered one of the most dangerous cities in the country, Detroit struggles with such a high crime and homicide rate that the Detroit Police Officers Association warned citizens and out-of-towners to visit at their own risk. They called the police force “grossly understaffed,” overworked and incapable of protecting the public in the violent city.

At the press conference, Logan said the police force “would continue to make the reduction of violent crime a top priority.” 

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