"Free Grace," demand supporters in controversial Oakland County case | Michigan Radio

"Free Grace," demand supporters in controversial Oakland County case

Jul 29, 2020

Protesters gathered a short distance from the Oakland County Children's Village for their overnight vigil
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A controversial case involving an Oakland County teenager drew dozens of people to a Waterford parking lot Wednesday night.  

The group chanted “Free Grace” to show their support for a girl, known-only as “Grace”, who has been held at Oakland County’s Children’s Village since May.  

The 15-year-old was incarcerated for violating her probation by not completing her online coursework.   The girl was originally placed on probation after pleading no contest to a charge of domestic violence and guilty to a charge of larceny.

A judge this month denied a request to release the girl, saying Grace is  benefiting from the residential treatment program and was not yet ready to return home. 

Protest organizer Ama Russell says their overnight vigil was intended to send a message.

“We’re out here for Grace but the judge will know our presence,” says Russell.

The judge’s decision to incarcerate the teenage Black girl for violating the terms of her probation has been criticized as “racist”.