Benny Napoleon, sheriff of Wayne County, Michigan, dies from COVID-19 complications


Benny Napoleon, the sheriff of Michigan’s largest county and a former Detroit police chief, died Thursday after spending weeks in the hospital with COVID-19, his family said. Napoleon, 65, died at Henry Ford Hospital with family present, daughter Tiffani Jackson said.

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Then-Detroit mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon speaks with the news media after casting his vote on Election Day November 5, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

“Remember his generosity, integrity and faithfulness as a public servant for over 45 years,” she said.

Napoleon was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 20, a day after publicly disclosing that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Napoleon’s brother, Hilton Napoleon, survived COVID-19 after more than two months in a hospital.

Napoleon was Wayne County sheriff since 2009. He served as Detroit police chief earlier in his career and ran for mayor in 2013, losing to Mike Duggan.

“I cannot think of a leader in this town who has been more loved and admired than Benny,” Duggan said. “He was born in the city, served our community courageously his entire adult life, and loved Detroit as much as anyone I’ve ever known.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expressed their condolences following the news of Napoleon’s death.

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