Protest against police shootings sweeps through downtown Detroit | Michigan Radio

Protest against police shootings sweeps through downtown Detroit

Jul 9, 2016

A nationwide wave of protest against recent police-involved killings hit Detroit Friday night.

A rally dubbed “Black Friday” grew from a gathering in Campus Martius park to a large march through traffic in the surrounding streets.

Detroit police had a heavy presence, but the protest remained peaceful until the end.

Participant Lee Qualls said the murder of police officers at a similar event in Dallas was on everyone’s mind, even as they expressed anger and frustration over police treatment of African-Americans.

“We want to let everyone know that we’re not here to be mean, here to be evil, here to go against the whole world," Qualls said.

“We’re here to say that yes, all lives do matter … but this all started with the movement of black lives matter. Because it was us, as blacks, being gunned down and killed by officers.”

The protest wasn’t officially affiliated with the Black Lives Matter organization -- though the protest's organizers, who initially remained anonymous as word of the event spread on social media late this week, said it was inspired in large part by that movement.

Protester Britany Crenshaw says she hopes events like this continue nationwide, and that they remain peaceful.

“I got brothers. I got a father. Cousins,” said Crenshaw. “And I feel like if anything happened to them, I would go crazy. They got red targets on their backs every day.”