Detroit Chief: No "critical, criminal" evidence left at shuttered crime lab

May 31, 2011

The Detroit Police Chief admits the department left its former crime lab in deplorable condition. But Ralph Godbee also insists that no evidence that could compromise ongoing criminal cases was left behind there.

The Detroit Police Department shuttered its crime lab in 2008, after investigations revealed numerous problems with testing and handling evidence.

Last week, the Detroit Free Press reported that the former lab site was left unsecured and in total disarray.

In addition to lab equipment and other trash, the reporters found open case files, blood samples, and other evidence.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee says the mess reveals a “horrible moving job,” but it shouldn’t affect any criminal cases.

“Preliminary information indicated to us that there is absolutely no evidence in the building. Is there material left behind that should not have been? Absolutely.”

The Michigan State Police have agreed to investigate the matter at the request of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Godbee also says Detroit Police Internal Affairs has been conducting their own, unrelated investigation involving the lab since April. But he says no one told him about the conditions in the building.