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FBI raids Detroit City Hall offices and homes of two Democratic city council members as part of corruption probe

The FBI raided offices at the Detroit City Hall Wednesday and also the homes of two Democratic members of the City Council as a part of an ongoing corruption probe.

Federal officers executed search warrants at the offices and homes of two members of the city council, Janee Ayers and Scott Benson, both Democrats, as well as the home of Benson’s chief of staff.

FBI special agent Tim Waters addressed the media outside the city hall about the raids.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we doing these search warrants? Because the citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that is free of corruption,” said Waters.

He made it clear that so far no charges had been filed in the investigation.

“Simply what we’re doing today is collecting evidence which will be presented to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern district of Michigan, who will make all the decisions on charging in this ongoing investigation,” he added.

Two sources told the Detroit News that the investigation was related to alleged bribes paid to city officials in relation to municipal towing operations.

The raids came just weeks after Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey was arraigned on one charge of conspiracy to commit bribery in federal court. Spivey’s next court date is Sept. 28.

City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez said in a statement that she was “horrified and heartbroken” over the raids, but added that she would press for “mandatory annual training on the city’s ethics ordinance” to help city officials avoid committing corruption.

A neighbor to Benson told the Detroit News she was shocked to see the councilman’s home being raided.

“In my opinion, when you see the FBI, they’ve already been investigating you and they raid your house looking for the evidence now. That’s how I look at it,” said Merlynn Sargent.

“He’s done so much for the community,” she said of Benson. “As a matter of fact, I voted for him.”

Here’s more about the raids in Detroit:

FBI raids Detroit City Hall, homes of 2 council members in corruption probe

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