The Gangster Report welcomes contributor Ricardo Ferrell from Detroit.

May 15, 2019

The long anticipated murder trial of George G. Rider is slated to begin this week in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. There have been numerous postponements and delays in the high-profile case charging Rider and two others with the murder of 34-year old Juli Johnson in Warren, Michigan on the morning of January 13, 2017.

Rider has been in custody since February of that year since his unlawful arrest in the case. On February 4, 2017, local police tracking a ping from a cellphone believed to be connected to one of Rider’s co-defendants (Marcie Griffin), stopped him in his Ford Explorer outside a car wash. Police confiscated the vehicle and three cellphones without probable cause or a legal warrant. They claimed it was a traffic stop, but no record of such stop exists. Less than two weeks later, he Rider was charged along with Griffin and one Eric Gibson with Johnson’s murder.

I believe it goes without saying that federal authorities immediately became involved after learning that it was George Rider the police in Warren were trying to connect to the Johnson homicide. The U.S. Attorneys’ Office in Detroit has been after Rider for the past two decades, trying to link him to crimes, in some cases, homicides, they had no real evidence of.

It appears, at the very least, in this case, the U.S. prosecutors were overzealous in influencing the Macomb County D.A. to charge Rider in a murder they have zero evidence tying him to, in an attempt to leverage future federal racketeering counts its easy to suspect they are hoping to one day bring. This is a vindictive pursuit and it’s been going on for years. Not based on merit, but vengeance. The federal government will stop at nothing to get Rider.

The desire to take down Rider at all costs intensified after the September 2007 murder of businesswoman Valerie Atikian inside the Fine Arts Theatre in Downtown Detroit. Rider owned the theatre and prosecutors wanted to charge him, but never could.

Today, the government will stop at nothing to get Rider and that’s unjust. I even believe U.S. Attorneys interfered in this current case, sending offers on deals for other unrelated cases if he would spill the beans on Griffin, who Macomb County prosecutors believe wanted Juli Johnson killed because of her relationship with Griffin’s ex-boyfriend and father to her two children.

How can they do this, you ask, run interference for cases that have never gotten filed? The short answer is they can’t. It’s illegal.

Questionable behavior abounds in this case. Remember, the case’s original judge, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Faunce, was forcibly recused back in December on orders of the state’s appellate court because of the fact that it was Faunce’s sister, Suzanne, a district court judge in the area, who signed the warrant for the search of Rider’s vehicle.

Was this just a coincidence? Considering the chicanery known to be going on in Macomb County these past few years, I think not. The search warrant to raid Rider’s girlfriend’s apartment was only an application to obtain a search warrant, but it was used anyway despite being bogus.

The vindictive pursuit I hope to expose dates back to before Rider got out of prison for a drug case he took in the 1990s and was locked up for between 1992-2003. Rider owned property in the Cass Corridor and parts of Downtown Detroit that were being developed into what is now the neighborhood that serves as home to all three of the city’s pro sports arenas.

But back then, the lots were under siege by mostly white businessmen and their connections in the city’s power structure that were eliminating owners they couldn’t buy out, either by killing them or locking them up. Rider had a vision of opening up sports bars, classy restaurants and coffee shops in the area today known as District Detroit. Pretty much exactly what you see going on there now. This was 20 years ago though.

It’s no secret there are people who want Rider out of the way. They wanted him out of the way then. And they want him out of the way now because of other key properties he owns and they want to acquire.

The authorities in the Juli Johnson case aren’t interested in the pursuit of justice. Instead, they are motivated by a vendetta against George Rider, which fuels this ever-growing vindictive pursuit. I believe the only reason why he’s been charged in this crime is simply because his name is George Rider. I also believe its highly likely that a number of individuals involved in this investigation either intentionally or inadvertently acted in a corrupted, concerted, collusive and conspiratorial fashion in bringing this case against Mr. Rider.

In an effort to get him off the street, it’s clear they’ll do whatever it takes, legal or not, even knowingly violating his constitutional rights. The entire legal process has been tainted and this is a massive injustice. Reputation over facts, personal beefs over upholding our rights as citizens. That’s what this case says. And that’s wrong.

Ricardo Ferrell, lifelong friend of George Rider

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