DETROIT — A former University of Michigan football player whose drug and alcohol rehab center was shut down in August has sued the city of Detroit.
Former All-America running back William Taylor Jr., 68, filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 10, alleging the city and zoning officials are discriminating against addicts by catering to stereotypes and denying them a place to get better, The Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/2jMnDyq ) reported.
“We’ve been treated so unfairly,” Taylor said. “I feel terrible. I’m just tired . but I’m never going to give up.”
Taylor’s center for recovering addicts, Get Back Up, was shut down after the Russell Woods Sullivan Area Association claimed it was a nuisance and a threat to safety. The association also alleged that it scared away potential new home buyers and hurt the neighborhood’s historic image.
“We just want a desirable place to live. An institution like that, big or small, is not going to enhance the neighborhood,” said James Boyer, past president of the Russell Woods Sullivan Area Association.
He said the facility’s residents would make lewd comments as people walked by, especially to women, and would also bang on the facility’s windows.
“It was a general nuisance,” Boyer said. “There was no real control of the residents. And so were very concerned that they would be wandering through the neighborhood.”
Taylor once battled drug and alcohol addiction, lived homeless on the streets of Detroit and did prison time before putting his life back together and starting the center in 2009.
“My whole intent, my whole purpose was to help people like myself learn how to live without using alcohol and drugs, and how to keep them out of jail . That’s the whole purpose,” Taylor said. “Because I was one of those individuals.”
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com