The savage beating of 36-year-old Detroit native Malice Green (pictured) at the hands of White police officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn during a routine traffic stop occurred on November 5, 1992. On this day that same year, months after the L.A. Riots were sparked by the Rodney King case, the officers were charged with second-degree murder. Green’s assailants — five additional officers — were joined by another White officer in the beating, and Freddie Douglas was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The details of the case sounded sketchy from the start, with the officers reporting that Green refused to leave his vehicle and produce a vial of crack cocaine – which allegedly sparked the struggle. Beating Green about the head with heavy flashlights, he would be rushed to a nearby hospital and died the night of November 5. The case had Detroit on edge, with residents being patently aware of what happened in Los Angeles and the potential for an explosive response.
An autopsy revealed that Green died from blunt force trauma and as many as 12 to 14 blows to the head.
Yet, the officers had an expert say Green perished due to the stress on his heart from drug use.
In December of that year, Officer Douglas had his charges dismissed as the trials of Nevers and Budzyn raged on. A flamboyant Black female attorney, Kym Worthy, served as the lead prosecutor in the case. The officers were charged together after being refused a change in venue. It was known by the policemen’s defense team that they had little chance in swaying the minds of the predominately African-American public in the Motor City.