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black lives matter

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Ayyub Ama was 14 years old when he was stopped by a police officer for the first time. The officer asked him for identification, and Ama gave him the only one he had: his middle school ID card.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Members of the Michigan-based protest movements that formed in the wake of George Floyd’s killing say Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction is a vindication of their cause.

Leaders from the protest movement called Detroit Will Breathe gathered with supporters in the snow in front of Detroit Police Headquarters just after the Chauvin verdict on Tuesday evening. They said the verdict shows the power of their movement, but it’s hardly the end point.

“Today is certainly a victory for the movement and defense of Black and brown lives. Unfortunately, it falls short of freedom,” said Nakia Wallace, a co-founder of Detroit Will Breathe.

main street downtown chelsea
Andrew Jameson / bit.ly/1xMszCg

This summer, people in Chelsea joined those around the state and the country to protest against racism and police brutality, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Some of those protestors were issued tickets by the Chelsea Police for impeding traffic.

Today, a District Court judge dismissed those tickets, saying they were issued under "an unconstitutional statute." This comes after a unanimous decision by Chelsea City Council last week to recommend that Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth dismiss the tickets.

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A judge has dealt a blow to the City of Detroit’s criminal prosecution of Black Lives Matter protesters. Judge Larry Williams, Jr. dismissed - without prejudice - cases against 28 people who were arrested during last summer’s anti-police brutality demonstrations.

John Royal is president of the National Lawyers Guild chapter in Detroit. He is defending those charged by the city. Royal says he’s asked judges to dismiss cases because city attorneys have withheld evidence.

Karianne Thomas
KPDS

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas is resigning.

Her resignation comes after criticism of how the department has handled Black Lives Matter protests, including how officers responded to a Proud Boys rally on August 15 where members of the far-right hate group violently clashed with counter protesters.

Noah / Unsplash

On Stateside, a church in Romeo grapples with systemic and politically motivated vandalism. And, what six months of COVID have looked like. Plus, we continue a focus on Detroit Month of Design with a conversation with the winner of the Design in the City competition.

Michigan State Police

The Michigan State Police says it is working to improve transparency, racial equity, and its relationship with the public, with three new actions.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge late Friday temporarily barred Detroit police from using tear gas, rubber bullets, batons, shields, chokeholds or sound cannons against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters after a group accused the city for excessive force.

President Trump on Monday declined to condemn the actions of the 17-year-old suspect in the shooting of three protesters against police brutality in Kenosha, Wis., claiming, without evidence, that it appeared the gunman was acting in self-defense.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Activists are taking the city of Detroit to court over the tactics used by the police department in breaking up Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

The protests in Detroit started after the death of George Floyd. Floyd died while being restrained by several Minneapolis police officers during an arrest. 

The Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions canceled their practice Tuesday to protest police brutality, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday.

Blake was shot in the back multiple times by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is now paralyzed.

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters say they will file a lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department over its response to a Saturday protest.

Organizer Tristan Taylor says the protest was against Detroit's acceptance of help from federal agents to crack down on gun crimes.  

More than 40 people were arrested when police moved in to clear them from an intersection where they had established their protest.

The City of Harper Woods has fired two police officers because they allegedly changed a police report connected with the death of a Black woman held in custody.

Priscilla Slater was detained in the early morning hours of June 9th in connection with reports of a shooting. She died in a holding cell that afternoon.

officer in riot gear
Adobe Stock

President Trump says he’s preparing to send federal agents to Detroit. 

Earlier this month, the president sent federal agents to Portland, Oregon, to deal with what he called the city’s inability to stop nightly Black Lives Matter protests.

U.S. Department of Justice

Federal law enforcement agents and other resources are headed to Detroit fight a surge in violent crime, U.S. government officials announced this week.

The plan, dubbed Operation Legend, is a Trump administration anti-crime initiative targeting several major cities.

screenshot of Zoom meeting of Lansing city council
Scott Pohl

The Lansing city council heard more than two hours of public comment during a meeting Monday night over a proposal to cut the city’s police budget in half over five years.

Councilmember Brandon Betz is joined by councilmember Kathie Dunbar in calling for diverting money cut from the police budget to social programs. They argue that would result in the prevention of crime. The proposal is backed by Black Lives Matter Lansing.

Several people spoke against the plan early in public comment, including Tim Brewbaker.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, the Lansing city council may take a step toward considering slashing the city’s police department budget by 50%.

Councilman Brandon Betz says his proposal is about “re-envisioning public safety”.

Riot police
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

New legislation (HB 5925) would prohibit law enforcement from using tear gas on crowds.

Following recent protests across the state and nation, some have questioned police tactics - particularly the deployment of tear gas.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A statue of a confederate soldier was the focus of a large protest Saturday in west Michigan.

The protest was largely peaceful, with a few heated exchanges between those for and against the confederate statue in the Allendale park.

Critics’ chants of “take it down” were countered by supporters chanting “U-S-A.”

The confederate figure stands back-to-back with a Union soldier. An enslaved child crouches between them clutching a scroll reading “Freedom to Slaves.”

person holding a "no qualified immunity" sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Over the past few weeks, the Black Lives Matter protests have kept the issue of police brutality at the top of mind for many Americans. While police conduct may be informed by hundreds of years of systemic racism, it's also guided by a specific federal court cases. So how does change happen within the context of that legal framework? 

Sydney James stands in front of a mural of Malice Green
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

  

When Detroit artist Sydney James set out to create a mural of Malice Green, a Detroit man killed by police in 1992, she wanted to represent him not as a man, but "as a monument."

In James' mural, titled "Way Too Many," a black-and-white Green is pictured holding a long makeshift scroll. On it are the names of other Black Americans who have died at the hands of police. The list, too long for one piece of paper, spans multiple sheets that wind around Green and the entire 3,500 square foot wall. Written in bold at the bottom of the final page is the phrase “& Countless Unnamed." 

Brian Jennings stands at the front of a crowd of protesters who marched through Grand Rapids Wednesday.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer set off massive protests across the U.S. At many of those protests, there was a familiar refrain: "Defund the police." It was scrawled across poster boards and chanted by protesters. But what does that actually mean? For some activists in Grand Rapids, it means reopening the city budget to move funding away from police and to other community services. LaDonna Norman, a member of the group Together We Are Safe, is one of those activists.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Grand Rapids once again Friday, but this time it was to honor one of the city’s own.

Breonna Taylor was killed by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky in March, just a few months shy of her 27th birthday. Taylor was in her own room, in the middle of the night, when officers shot her while carrying out a “no knock” warrant looking for someone else.

Earlier this week, Louisville banned “no knock” warrants through legislation now known as “Breonna’s Law.”

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Pinckney is a rural, small town about 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor.

On Friday afternoon, several dozen people, of all ages, held signs and chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace!” on Main Street. Haley Comella grew up in the village of about 3,000, made up almost entirely of white people.

ABIGAIL CENSKY / WKAR

“Black Lives Matter” boomed from loudspeakers, echoing across the lawn of the Michigan State Capitol at the NAACP’s “We Are Done Dying March.”

Wednesday’s march was the latest in Lansing as part of a nationwide swell of protests for Black lives and against police brutality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

The country is now in its third week of demonstrations, drawing out some who have never protested before and others who’ve spent a lifetime calling for justice. Below are some of their stories.

Brandi Whitted & Areeona Clark

michigan state capitol building in lansing, mi
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people marched from the Lansing Center to the state Capitol on Wednesday as part of a march against police brutality.

The words "Black Lives Matter" echoed across the Capitol lawn at the NAACP’s “We are Done Dying” march.

Nathanael Jefferson has been to several protests in Detroit and Lansing. He says he has personally been profiled in Lansing and sees police profiling all the time.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, less driving statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic means insurance companies need to distribute refunds. We find out about what this means for drivers, as well as how they’ll be affected by upcoming changes to the state’s no-fault law. Also, a look at how the history of LGBTQ Pride and the Black Lives Matter movement intersect. Plus, social media’s relationship to social change.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Tuesday's rally to inform protesters about what happened in a meeting with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan got off to a rocky start.

Joanna Underwood, an activist who helped organize the first Detroit protest against police brutality, screamed at, ranted, and angrily lectured the protesters, along with two other activists she accused of "hijacking," the movement she was leading.

Underwood said Tristan Taylor and Nakia Wallace, who'd met with Duggan, were not legitimate leaders of the movement, because they were relatively new to the protest scene, while she'd been working for justice in the city for 15 years.  

woman holding a sign that says "black lives matter"
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The political will for police reform has made a big leap forward this year. But once we get to the point of acting on proposed changes, it will be important to have data that tells us what's happening. 

Protesters have staged nightly protests in Lansing against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. Now, those protests have turned into calls to defund the Lansing Police and for Mayor Andy Schor to resign.
Abigail Censky / WKAR

More than one hundred protesters gathered on the state capitol steps Sunday marking a week of protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man, by a white police officer.

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