Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. was suspended Tuesday amid accusations that he had an affair with a female police officer — the second sex scandal to tarnish his tenure since he took the helm in 2010.
An attorney for Detroit Police Officer Angelica Robinson, who works in internal affairs, told the Free Press that his client has been in a relationship with Godbee for “many months.”
After the scandal broke Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Dave Bing suspended Godbee. Godbee could not be reached by the Free Press for comment.
“After learning of the allegations regarding Chief Ralph Godbee, I have placed him on a 30-day suspension pending a full and thorough investigation of this matter,” Bing said in a statement. “In the interim, Assistant Chief Chester Logan will assume the duties and responsibilities of police chief.”
Detroit Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said Godbee was scheduled to be at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference this week in San Diego. The conference runs through today, according to its website.
Robinson declined to comment when reached by the Free Press, directing questions to her attorney. Her LinkedIn account indicates that she has been a Detroit police officer since 1995.
Attorney David Robinson confirmed he is representing Angelica Robinson. He said she tried to sever her relationship with Godbee.
“She was trying to cut it off, and he didn’t like that,” David Robinson said. “And apparently she was, she was very depressed apparently, and the concern was whether or not she was going to take her own life, and Godbee got wind of that and, I guess, tried to intervene.”
Robinson said his client’s gun was taken away, and she is going to be evaluated by a doctor.
Other news media reports have indicated that Angelica Robinson became upset after discovering Godbee may have been at the conference in San Diego with another woman. David Robinson said he did not have information on another woman.
On Tuesday, Godbee and a woman were booked in a room at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, according to the hotel. On Monday, a Twitter account believed to belong to the woman showed pictures of her standing on what appears to be a balcony with the message: “Breakfast by the Bay!”
WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reported that Godbee and his wife are going through a divorce.
Godbee took over as chief two years ago after former Chief Warren Evans was forced to resign after he was featured in a teaser for a reality program and also had a relationship with a subordinate, Lt. Monique Patterson.
At the time, Bing said Evans’ relationship with Patterson compromised his ability to lead. The mayor named Godbee, a lifelong Detroiter and veteran of the department, interim chief in July 2010. That September, he was given the top job.
But shortly after being named chief, Patterson released text messages showing she also had a romantic relationship with Godbee.
In the wake of that revelation, Bing’s office issued a news release that quoted former Deputy Mayor Saul Green.
“Ralph Godbee has proven that he is the right man to lead the Detroit Police Department,” the release said, noting that the city received a number of qualified candidates but felt Godbee “is the person to lead DPD in our efforts to improve public safety.”
Godbee is the third police chief under Bing’s administration since he was elected mayor in 2009. Bing fired former Police Chief James Barren in 2009, then hired Evans, who was fired in 2010.
Since taking over the helm, Godbee has faced challenges, including budget cuts and rising homicides. As of Sept. 23, police had investigated 287 homicides — up from 261 during the same time last year and 211 during the same period in 2010.
There also has been dissatisfaction with Godbee among some Detroit City Council members, who have questioned his inability to get officers off desk duty and back into street patrols and expressed frustration with the response to murders this summer.
But in September, Bing praised Detroit police officers for catching suspects in several killings and for confiscating guns and millions of dollars in drugs.
David Robinson said Angelica Robinson is upset about the situation and said Godbee put pressure on his client.
According to her LinkedIn account, Angelica Robinson is the founder and president of Soaring Eagles Alternative, which is described on its website as a nonprofit founded in 2009 “to promote the strengths and abilities of youth and families by providing community-based services that empower and enrich to face life’s challenges with the utmost respect, dignity and integrity.”