Last week Jack Crofoot contacted us with good news.
As you will recall, Mr. Crofoot was facing a trial on criminal charges pressed by the grocery chain Spartan Stores. On the advice of Warner Norcross attorney Alex DeYonker, Spartan was trying to intimidate Mr. Crofoot into silence about his mistreatment by the company after one its security guards had falsely twisted a honest mistake into a shoplifting beef against him. (Mr. Crofoot, who is legally blind, exited a Spartan grocery store with an unchecked item in his shopping cart. The security guard accosted him when he was going back into the store to correct his mistake.)
Grand Rapids Assistant City Attorney Margaret Bloemers gleefully piled on to prosecute Mr. Crofoot, even after Spartan's security manager contacted her to drop the charges. You see, the company's surveillance video proved Mr. Crofoot's innocence, and the security manager knew that. This put Spartan Stores in a pickle: They had falsely accused Mr. Crofoot of a crime, about which he had been making public complaints. DeYonker tried to bully Mr. Crofoot into silence by hanging the possibility of future prosecution over his head if he didn't shut up, but Mr. Crofoot refused to be cowed. So Spartan pressed on with charges, with Bloemers happily carrying their water in court.
This shouldn't have been a tremendous problem for Mr. Crofoot to overcome, because of the evidence of the Spartan surveillance video. However, Spartan refused to release to the court the portion of the video that exonerated Mr. Crofoot, and Mr. Crofoot's public defender did not want to be bothered with defending his client. (After all, that would mean working for his fee paid by the taxpayers, and who are they to expect anything like that?) So, by the time Mr. Crofoot's trial was scheduled for the end of April, things looked bleak.
Fortunately, the American Council for the Blind stepped and sent an attorney to Mr. Crofoot to represent him. All of the sudden, Bloemers folded and the City Attorney's Office signed an agreement dismissing all charges. As for Spartan Stores, all Mr. Crofoot could say is that he signed an agreement to no longer publicly discuss the matter. Therefore, we do not know what, if any, settlement has been reached between Spartan and him. For what it's worth, I will say that a "gag order", like the one Mr. Crofoot spoke of, would indicate his lawyer got him a favorable settlement from Spartan.
So despite the mendacity of Spartan Stores, the thuggery of Warner Norcross, and the supine submission of the City Attorney's Office to the players in town, justice did prevail. Mr. Crofoot is officially no longer a bad man. We wish him well.