Bullying – specifically racial bullying – appears to be behind a workplace violence incident yesterday in suburban Detroit that left one person dead, another critically injured and a third facing life in prison.
Police are saying that the double shooting at Reliable Fence Company in Clinton Township, Michigan stemmed from an ongoing dispute between employees. The victim who survived has worked at the company for 17 years and has allegedly bullied other employees.
The fatality was the owner of the business, 61-year-old, Tom Badke.
News sources report that suspect, 24-year-old Jerry Motley, came to work and shot his co-worker twice in the torso. Accounts differ as to what happened next: Badke was either shot accidentally, while co-workers were trying to wrestle the gun away from Motley, or deliberately, for failing to stop what Motley felt was racial harassment.
Motley fled the scene, crashed his car on an icy roadway and then fled on foot, but was apprehended by police shortly after.
"The person that was shot twice was apparently very aggressive to the other employees, and I guess for lack of a better word a bully," said Clinton Township Police Chief Fred Posavetz.
Motley was the only African-American employee at the small fence company. His brother says he was subjected to racial slurs and comments about watermelons and slavery, and that other employees had taken his food and thrown cigarette butts at him.
Motley posted about the harassment on his Facebook page: " I cried in 2017 you can't talk to another human being like that" and "racist jokes are not funny."
Motley, who was working two jobs, was on medication for mental health. The manager at his other company said he had no problems with co-workers there.