SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In response to a REAL News Michiana story in which we uncovered a local magistrate attended a mostly maskless birthday bash for a career felon, the felon is now defending the judge for his attendance by publicly calling Journalist Clifton French a racist and making false allegations that he was fired from his last job.
Clifford Bonds, who has been in and out of prison for the past two decades, made following post on Facebook, which is full of grammatical errors.
“#pleaseshare make this go viral it’s an attack on our own. Today’s one to grow on, I see the devil is vary busy this week, to the left of your phone is this disgruntled racist news reporter Clifton French was was fired from his last job and is now running around South Bend trying to get attention and momentum for his career by lying on Black public officials in our community. And, without doing any research some of our own are running with it and giving it the attention he wants. The articles he is posting is FAKE NEWS and his is also being vindictive. He posted this article about Judge Andre Gammage who attend my birthday party because he signed a restraining order for Clifton French to stay away from Aisha Avance and stop harassing her. He is taking actual situations and putting a criminal spin on them when he know there is no foul play or criminal activity involved. Share Share Share!”
The felon not only mentions Andre Gammage, but also tags Aisha Avance, who has been the subject of an RNM investigation involving grant fraud within the City of South Bend. You can read more about that here. Avance and the felon are friends on the social media site. She also responds by liking the post using the profile, Aisha ReitaWorld, as seen below.
On Wednesday, RNM published a story showing pictures of St. Joseph County Circuit Court Magistrate, Andre Gammage, posing with Clifford Bonds, along with the South Bend Community School Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, Kareemah Fowler. Fowler is the former City Clerk for the City of South Bend.
The photos and videos of mostly maskless attendees are from a birthday party for Bonds on December 27th, 2020 — prior to the mass rollout of vaccines for COVID-19. According to Indiana Department of Corrections records, Bonds had been out of prison for less than two years at the time.
Bonds has been in and out of prison since 1991. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 1991 for dealing cocaine. In 1997, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison on a Criminal Recklessness conviction. In 2007, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for theft and receiving stolen property. From 2008 through 2016, Bonds was convicted in four more theft cases that resulted in prison sentences.
It’s unclear why a magistrate would be attending the birthday party for a career felon who has convictions spanning nearly two decades. In a Facebook post, Bonds thanks Gammage by name.
REAL News Michiana has been looking into Magistrate Gammage’s potential conflicting relationships with criminals since March of this year. A time-stamped text message from an RNM tipster with the photo of Gammage can be seen below.
Gammage is the magistrate who signed off on a protection order filed against RNM’s Clifton French by a Democrat Deputy of the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office earlier this month. That employee was the subject of an RNM investigation that led to the discovery of grant fraud within the City of South Bend. You can read more about that here. RNM is providing the timestamped message to show we were investigating Gammage prior to his involvement in the protective order.
It’s unclear if Gammage knew of RNM’s investigation into his affairs prior to signing off on the protective order that now prevents RNM’s Clifton French from visiting the County-City building. A hearing to overturn the order is scheduled for October 4th. Because of that order, RNM has not reached out to Gammage to get comment on the photos or his potential relationships with other known felons. It’s also unclear if he supports the social media statements made by Bonds that call Journalist Clifton French a racist.
NOTE: As is standard journalistic practice, RNM is publishing this follow-up story since we now have a response from Mr. Bonds.
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