Peaceful protests for racial justice march on in Michigan | Michigan Radio

Peaceful protests for racial justice march on in Michigan

Sep 25, 2020

The following commentary was produced and written in reflection by our Stateside production team.

Tuesday evening, the protests kicked back up in Detroit and Grand Rapids and across the country after a grand jury declined to indict Louisville Police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.

The protests were peaceful. Some people - protesters not among them - credit and are counting on Police Chief James Craig to keep protests under control.

And that sentiment carries through to the White House. This week President Donald Trump told Fox 2 Detroit he likes Chief Craig's approach.

"You have a great police chief," said Trump. "I watch him, I like him a lot. Say hello to him. I think he's terrific. I think he's just an incredible representative, too. He speaks so well about a very important subject, which is crime and the rioting and all the things you see in certain cities."

Chief Craig, meanwhile, went on one of the president’s favorite shows, Fox and Friends, asserting that many protests throughout the country are nefarious, privately and well funded, and "Marxist".

But in Detroit last night, there was chanting and drums leading the peaceful march organized by community activists Detroit Will Breathe. 

What was missing in Detroit last night was police in a shield wall, and batons, and tear gas to bring protesters to heel. In fact, the only time violence and chaos has been apparent is when protesters were directly confronted with an aggressive posture from Detroit Police. But the DPD generally hasn't approached protesters with aggression and whether that peace is owed largely to police leadership or protesters is a matter of perspective.

But there is still pain at these protests. Not externally, with violent clashes but deep and resounding pain abounds.

"This is not over," Erica Eaves, cousin of Breonna Taylor cried into a megaphone at the Grand Rapids protest last night. "We will not be silent. We will get louder. Say her name."

And the crowd cried back, "Breonna Taylor."

Want to support reporting like this? Consider making a gift to Michigan Radio today.