Scott Campbell was running for mayor ... then he got beat up, locked up and charged with a felony
Published: December 21, 2011
Scott Campbell is having a swell time.
Brief history: In 1977, Campbell formed the Sillies, a beloved Detroit punk band. The Stooges and the MC5 were gone, and in their place were Destroy All Monsters and Sonic's Rendezvous Band. Also playing around were the Romantics (formed that year) and, a little later, the Torpedos. It was in this climate, somewhere between art rock and new wave, that the Sillies formed.
Campbell also had a hand in Bookies' punk club in '78, where such bands as the Cramps, the Damned and the Police played their first Detroit shows. Campbell founded the club Todd's. The Sillies stopped playing, then started again, albeit sporadically, and Campbell had a bit of a solo thing going that was well-received by those who heard it.
That's Campbell the musician, the local old-school punk. Like many Detroit musicians of his vintage (he's 53), Campbell has a résumé that he's proud of. The guy resides in a regular home in Harper Woods, and it's there that this story gets interesting. You see, in the past couple of years, as Campbell tells it, he's gone from sweet old punk dude to public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of local authorities. He has been arrested, vilified and beaten by overzealous neighbors, he says. If this is starting to sound crazy, that's because it is.
It should be noted that I contacted the Harper Woods Police and presented them with Campbell's version of events, which you are about to read. I gave them a chance to comment and received no reply.
It's entirely possible that you saw Scott Campbell on the local news in October, being pushed into court in a wheelchair, hair messy, face unshaven. Campbell was in front of the judge charged with firearm possession. Campbell says it's nonsense. "The charge was that they illegally searched my minivan and found a completely legal 1858 replica of a Civil War pistol. That's why they took me away. They also stole $200 in cash and my camera, which I had been using to gather evidence against the court and the local inspectors harassing me and my 83-year-old mother. It's beyond bizarre, it's insane."
Why would the police be in Campbell's minivan without cause?
Campbell says that the harassment started when he decided to run for mayor of Harper Woods in 2009. Then came the arrest in October.
"I don't know that there is specifically a vendetta against me, but the night they arrested me and put me away, I was parked on the street and wanted to get out there and move the car so I wouldn't get ticketed," Campbell says. "The policemen said that they weren't there because I was parked on the street but because I was making threatening behavior. They said my girlfriend had made the complaint. She came out and said she wasn't complaining. They went through my car and found the replica revolver."
For the record, Campbell and his girlfriend, Michelle Southers, had been regulars at Harper Woods City Council meetings and, by their own admission, made a nuisance of themselves asking the questions that the people in charge didn't want to answer. Then Campbell decided to run for mayor, and the harassment began, he says.
Southers is an interesting person in her own right. A part of the Bookies scene with her band Lipstick, she served more than two decades in prison after her then-boyfriend killed his stepmom. According to Southers, he threatened to kill her too if she didn't help him get rid of the body. She did, then was later caught and prosecuted. She was 21 when she went in, and she was released in 2009 at 46. She's a smart cookie, and an engaging personality, and she obviously loves Campbell.
"He was my first love," she says. "He was also one of the first people that I contacted when I got out. There's no comparison between the Scott I know on a day-to-day basis and the Scott the media is portraying. The reason for his condition on TV is because he was deprived of his medication. He's fine when taking his medication."
The day I interviewed Campbell, Dec. 11, was supposed to be one day before his sentencing in court on felony gun-possession.
However that date was delayed until January. Campbell is pleased, as it gives him more time to prepare. If his version of events is true, then he has every reason to be relieved.
"They held me illegally for 30 hours without my medication," he says. "This will allow me time to heal up, because I have something that is ridiculously called shingles. It covers whatever part of the body it affects, but only half. You get covered with huge red welts and sores, and then they turn into black scabs and they leak pus. So basically you have runny sores and, in some cases, people commit suicide because of the pain. I'm on pain medication and I'm on anti-viral medication. Basically, it feels as though someone has put red-hot pokers into your skin. Parts of your head lose all feeling, so it feels as though you're wearing a hat or a helmet. The other parts are burning. In that condition, they kept me in an unheated room for 30 hours without my medicine."
Holy crap. How Lynchian. I'm going to say again that I can't verify any of these claims. I have one side of the story from a man who is, in Southers' words, "broken." I can say that the raving madman portrayed on TV was pretty far from the man I sat down with. In conversation, he's sharp, focused and obviously intelligent. Could he be a mayor? Why the hell not?
> Email Brett Callwood