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Family of Attorney Clifford Woodards responds to ME report, calls for charges against DPD

Cliff Woodards
Posted at 12:25 PM, Apr 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-25 18:34:35-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The daughter of prominent attorney Clifford Woodards says nearly three months after his death, a medical examiner’s report confirms what she already knew, and criminal charges are needed against officers who took his life.

“After reviewing the report, the facts are clear," said Melissa Woodards-Connelly. "My father was sober when he was driving, and not at fault when he was driving. My father deserves justice and the question is when will it be served?”

The same report is now being reviewed by the Wayne County prosecutor. It shows Clifford died in early February of severe trauma suffered after being hit by Detroit police officers.

“Charges being filed would mean someone who is responsible for my father’s death, is being held responsible," Woodards-Connelly said. "That’s the most anyone in my situation could hope for.”

Also responding to the report, family attorney Arnold Reed adds, “There is no more important thing than human life. Maybe they didn’t intend for this to happen. Maybe Chauvin didn’t intend to kill George Floyd. But, that’s not the question. It happened. A life was taken, and now consequences must come to bear.”

Woodards-Connelly and Reed point to police acknowledging early findings that officers who struck Clifford as he drove home from a Super Bowl party, were going too fast and couldn’t stop safely.

“Cliff will never see Melissa have a child. He will never be able to play with his grandkids," Attorney Reed said. "There will be no barbecues, no more functions, sitting with family and reminiscing about old times. All of that is gone.”

For Clifford’s daughter, emotions are also a part of this long road. She says she never imagined she would be on.

“You can’t properly process grief for the loss of a parent when you’re held in limbo, to find out what I already knew,” Woodards-Connelly said.

After Clifford’s death at West Chicago and the eastbound Jeffrey’s service drive, the findings showed officers had lights and sirens turned on at 1 a.m., but failed to stop their cruiser sufficiently at a red light.

“Negligent homicide is all over this case. The report is updated which we have access to. It shows 100% fault to these police officers.” Reed said.

Clifford’s daughter is also telling 7 Action News, “If my father were alive and this was a client, he would be strong & demand justice was served. In this case, it doesn’t look as though procedures were followed. My father lost his life because of it.”

At this point, police aren’t commenting while the WCPO says it’s unknown how soon a decision will be made. Attorney Arnold Reed says they will also pursue justice in the civil court no matter what.