This blog post will cover several events of note in the ongoing saga of Richard J. Wershe, Jr.
Academy-award winning actor Matthew McConaughey who starred in such films as Dallas Buyers Club, Magic Mike and Failure to Launch is reportedly in talks to star in White Boy Rick, a film “inspired by” the story of Richard J. Wershe, Jr.
|Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey. He is in talks to star in 'White Boy Rick', a film based on the story of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. McConaughy would play the role of Rick's father. (Photo: Associated Press)|
McConaughey would play the role of Rick’s father, Richard J. Wershe, Sr. The role of Rick has not yet been cast. The film has been in development for several years and it has had multiple screenplay re-writes. Yann Demange, an acclaimed hot young director from the U.K. has been signed to direct the motion picture. Production is scheduled to begin next spring.
It’s anybody’s guess whether the Hollywood film will help Rick Wershe win his freedom. He’s been in prison nearly 29 years for a non-violent drug conviction when he was 18. At age 14 Wershe was recruited by the FBI to become a paid informant against the politically-connected Johnnie Curry drug gang on Detroit’s east side. Johnnie Curry was married to Cathy Volsan Curry, the niece of the late Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. Curry enjoyed police protection in the form of intelligence reports and other tips until he and his gang were brought down by the FBI with considerable help from Rick Wershe, Jr. Even though he was white and the Currys were black, the teenaged Wershe knew drug-dealing brothers Johnnie and Leo Curry through his friendship with their younger brother, Rudell “Boo” Curry.
When a federal drug task force got all they needed from their teen informant they kicked him to the curb to fend for himself. They indicted the Curry Brothers who pleaded guilty and went to prison.
Wershe came from a broken, dysfunctional family and the only trade he knew is the one law enforcement taught him: the dope trade. Wershe was never a drug user but thanks to the schooling of police narcs he knew his way around Detroit’s drug trade. Critics who say he ran with some of the biggest gangsters in Detroit in that era conveniently forget federal agents paid him to do that. Of course he consorted with drug dealers. That was what he was being paid to do.
Cocky but immature and cast adrift on the mean streets of Detroit, Rick Wershe, Jr. tried to become a “weight man”, a cocaine wholesaler. He didn’t last a year before Detroit Police narcs busted him on a major drug charge that carried a life sentence. The case was shaky but with the help of sensational media headlines about a white teen drug kingpin ruling the cocaine trade in mostly black Detroit, a jury bought the story the narcs concocted. Real drug kingpins from that era say it was a fabricated legend intended to win a conviction.
For nearly two years, numerous blog posts on Informant America have detailed the facts and evidence pointing to an official vendetta to keep Wershe in prison because he told the hated FBI about drug trade corruption in the Detroit Police Department—and he embarrassed Coleman Young by having an affair with the mayor’s niece while he was secretly working for the FBI. Even after he went to prison Wershe continue to help the FBI in a major case which led to the conviction of a number of police officers and Willie Clyde Volsan, Cathy Volsan’s father and Mayor Young’s brother-in-law.
Not only did Wershe become one of Coleman Young’s enemies by being an FBI “stool pigeon” he also made the top of the enemies list of the late Gil Hill, movie-star Detroit cop and later Detroit City Council President. It was for the same reason. Wershe told the FBI about Hill’s corruption through cash from Johnnie Curry. The FBI tried, but failed, to gather enough evidence to indict and prosecute Hill for public corruption. They had evidence, they just didn’t have enough to ensure a jury conviction. But Hill learned he was almost prosecuted because of Rick Wershe, Jr. There’s strong evidence Hill did everything he could, pulled all the strings, called in political IOUs, to sabotage any hope Wershe might have for parole. It seems to have worked.
As Ralph Musilli, Wershe’s attorney, states succinctly: “He told on the wrong people and he cost the wrong people a lot of money.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who came up through the political machine of Detroit and Wayne County politics and who owes her career to some of the people Rick Wershe annoyed, has fought tenaciously to keep Wershe in prison.
Worthy has come under a lot of criticism about the Wershe case and her persecution as opposed to prosecution of juvenile offenders in Wayne County. She caused a media stir in August when she announced she might reconsider her position on the Wershe case. Some in the media hailed this as a big deal. It was no such thing.
Permit me two examples: Tomorrow I might reconsider my view that U.S. politics has become dysfunctional. Tomorrow I might reconsider my view that “reality” TV is total trash and a total waste of time. In other words, like Kym Worthy, I might reconsider a lot of things. It means nothing. It appears Kym Worthy said she might reconsider the Wershe case just to get the media off her back.
Worthy deserves to have the media on her back about a lot of her policies and managerial decisions. As she remains entrenched in office more and more she's becoming the Wayne County Persecutor instead of Prosecutor. Real justice is not on her radar screen. Late in the election season we urged voters to seriously consider her opponent in the election, Libertarian David Afton who opposed Worthy’s policy on juvenile justice in general and the Rick Wershe case in particular. This is not the first time he ran against Kym Worthy for Prosecutor. He lost but gained a lot of votes compared to the last time.
Here's the final vote totals for the 2016 election for Wayne County Prosecutor:
Worthy: 561,358 Afton: 106,036
It appears a lot of Rick’s supporters tried to help Afton win. Compare the totals above to the totals from the 2012 election:
Worthy: 645,938 Afton: 74,589
Afton gained 31,447 votes over his total in the last election. Conversely Worthy had 84,580 fewer votes this time around. Hey, it’s tough to beat the Detroit/Wayne County political machine and its anointed candidates like Kym Worthy.
Last but not least, Rick is asking once again that his supporters get behind his holiday food drive. Rick has been helping families in need for several years at the holidays. Each year brings more participation, more success for his food drive and more help for people who really need it.
Here’s what Rick posted on the Free Richard Wershe, Jr. Facebook page:
“This holiday season we are again asking for donations for the annual Rick Wershe Holiday Fundraiser.
All the donations will be used to help feed hungry families in the Detroit community where Rick grew up.
We're partnering with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan and Emmanuel Lutheran Church to provide meals to needy families in Rick's old east side neighborhood. The Church provides meals and assistance to 75 families every month and right now they're short on the resources they need to feed everyone.
Rick's goal is to rejoin society so he can give back more and keep helping others who have faced difficult times in their lives. He likes to use the attention his case has been gotten to try to help others in need. No one should go hungry this holiday season and Rick wants to do what he can to help.
Last year (2015) we were able to donate $3,000 in food and clothing items to the Church.
We hope to match or exceed that this year. Thanks in advance for your generosity!”
If you’d like to help Rick help others, please go to the Free Richard Wershe, Jr. Facebook page. Tis the season.