Sorry is as sorry does. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick gave what seemed to be a heart-felt apology Wednesday night for allowing his personal behavior to embarrass his family and city. Apologies carry more weight when they’re followed by a change of action. Since speaking to the city, Kilpatrick has stood by while City Hall security guards manhandled a WDIV-Channel 4 reporter. Just before the speech, the mayor shoved a WXYZ-TV Channel 7 reporter in the chest and smacked a female Detroit Free Press photographer in the face. The physical assaults invite more costly legal trouble for both the mayor and the city—as does the move to limit public access to the publicly owned Coleman A. Young municipal building. The day after the mayor’s televised apology, an edict was newly enforced to restrict the movements of reporters at City Hall. If continued, this, too, will bring the city unnecessary lawsuits, although by Friday security officials were loosening the restrictions. Kilpatrick seems to be a lot better at saying he’s sorry than he is at changing the behavior that makes the apologies necessary. Perhaps that’s because he’s had a lot more practice at the former than he has the latter.
Detroit News, February 2, 2008