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George Floyd

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.

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan Democratic congresswomen are calling on Republicans in the U.S. Senate to take action on legislation on policing.

Specifically, Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) want the Senate to take up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  

Protesters want big police reforms. Michigan lawmakers offer small changes.

Jun 22, 2020
protesters in lansing
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Protests in Michigan cities are still ongoing against racial injustice and police brutality in what is becoming one of the most sustained social movements in memory. After years of police killing African Americans at a disproportionate rate, protesters are calling for revolutionary change.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Protesters who have taken to Detroit’s streets in the weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police say Detroit police have brutalized them. Some recounted their stories at a self-styled tribunal on Saturday night.

Person after person gave testimony alleging that Detroit police taunted, pepper sprayed, and assaulted them at marches earlier this month – mostly for violating Detroit’s then-8 p.m. curfew.

dumpster on fire with protesters gathered around it
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis prompted large protests in Grand Rapids. But Grand Rapids has its own history of troubling interactions between police and residents. Now the city is having tough conversations about the future of policing there.

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.

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
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.

a rainbow chalk covered sidewalk
Jasmin Sessler / Unsplash

Like most things during this pandemic, Pride Month is looking a little different this year. Many of the normal gatherings and celebrations have been cancelled. Meanwhile, protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd continue to spread across the nation. Amid the unrest and uncertainty, some activists see this Pride Month as particularly poignant. Stateside spoke with Erin Knott, executive director at Equality Michigan, and Selma Tucker with Public Sector Consultants in Lansing about the connections between the fight for LGBTQ rights and the fight for racial justice. 

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.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“Say his name...Milton Hall!”

This week, George Floyd’s name has been heard in cities across Michigan. But in Saginaw, marchers chanted a different name.  

Milton Hall was killed by six Saginaw police officers in a parking lot eight years ago. Combined, the officers fired 47 shots. 11 struck Hall. 

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

Grand Rapids officials told residents the city is commited to implementing changes to make policing more accountable, and safer for residents, in an online update forum on Friday.

Fred Moon @fwed for Unsplash

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is joining 17 other state AGs in asking Congress to expand federal law to give them "clear statutory authority to investigate patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing,” Nessel’s office said Thursday. 

“We therefore ask Congress to give us explicit authority under federal law to conduct

State of Michigan

More marches and rallies are scheduled for this weekend to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

And that concerns local public health officials who fear large gatherings may spread the virus that causes COVID-19.

Denise Fair is Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer. She says she doesn’t want to discourage people from speaking out.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit city officials expect an 8 p.m. curfew will remain in place for a couple more days.

The curfew was put in place this week in response to confrontations between large groups of protesters and police.   

Dozens of protesters have been detained for violating the curfew. Although on Wednesday night, police did not enforce the curfew and protesters continued to march peacefully well after the curfew.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Update: Brian Jennings was arrested by Grand Rapids police Thursday afternoon. The Kent County Prosecutor's office initially told Michigan Radio Jennings was charged with destruction of property separately from the destruction that happened in the downtown core on Saturday night. Since then, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker says additional charges have been filed for rioting, breaking and entering and destruction of property at 82 Ionia on Saturday. The Kent County Prosecutors office is located in the building. 

Hundreds of angry people with no leader, and no plan.

A city, and a police department, on edge.

That was Grand Rapids again last night, less than a week after protests downtown turned to destruction and looting.

But last night, things turned out differently.

Discussion during a Black Lives Matter Lansing webinar Wednesday night was dominated by criticism over the city’s police budget and a call for Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s resignation.


Grand Ledge Superintendent Brian Metcalf
Grand Ledge Schools

The superintendent of Grand Ledge Public Schools is apologizing for an online message about the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Superintendent Brian Metcalf’s post said Floyd’s death was wrong, but also criticized Floyd’s actions leading up to his death.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters have marched in all 50 states to demand action against police brutality and mourn the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Stateside talked to two peaceful protest organizers in Grand Rapids and Detroit about what it was like demonstrating in their cities.

Zac A. Clark / Clark Camera

After days of protest, there are signs of progress in many parts of Michigan today.

Kent County law enforcement leaders, including Grand Rapids police chief Eric Payne, joined protesters in Grand Rapids Wednesday afternoon, kneeling and chanting “I can’t breathe.”

mary barra
The City of Detroit

The heads of nine of Detroit's largest corporations came together at a press conference on Wednesday to jointly condemn racism and injustice that they said have been inflicted for far too long on the black community - and to speak in support of the peaceful protests that have been sweeping the nation.

In a statement, the corporate leaders condemned the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, all of whom were black.

Marcel Fable Price sitting on a set of stairs in a hoodie and khakis
Courtesy of Marcel "Fable" Price

Marcel “Fable” Price is poet laureate of Grand Rapids. He’s also the executive director of The Diatribe, a youth-focused performing arts nonprofit in Grand Rapids. He recently put out a statement about the protests against excessive police force happening here in Michigan and beyond. It read to us more like an essay, or dare we say, poetry. Listen below to hear Marcel share his thoughts on this moment in America. 


Twitter user: @haylerss5 / https://bit.ly/305g6iH

Some Kalamazoo County commissioners are questioning the way police have responded to incidents this week.

Kalamazoo and neighboring Portage imposed a 7 p.m. curfew Tuesday night after vandalism in downtown Kalamazoo Monday.

Police dispersed a crowd in Kalamazoo Tuesday night with tear gas after protesters ignored the citywide curfew.

Detroit Free Press, used with permission

Day five of George Floyd protests in Detroit ended with a mass arrest of protesters.

In the week since Floyd died, as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest, protests have spread across Michigan and the United States.

Chanting “We don’t back down to bullies in shields,” hundreds of protesters linked arms and continued marching past Detroit’s curfew.

Ryan Patrick Hooper / WDET

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan praised protesters and the city’s police force for keeping the city relatively calm Monday night.

But Duggan cautioned on Tuesday that the city must remain on high alert—and will keep an 8 p.m. curfew throughout the week.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Hundreds of protesters, many of them students and young people, came out to at least two separate marches in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, marking more than a week of nearly daily protests in the city.

 

boarded up store
Courtesy of Chloe Miller / bit.ly/3gQi2Bl

Kalamazoo officials have imposed a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew this evening after violence flared Monday night. Vandals broke windows and started fires. Police used tear gas and other means to disperse the crowd.

Police Chief Karianne Thomas says it was not Kalamazoo’s “finest hour.”

Genesee County

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson says law enforcement agencies must respect the constitutional rights of protesters.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Update: The Grand Rapids City Commission met Tuesday and discussed the events of Saturday night. The mayor and city commissioners decided not to extend the city's 7 p.m. curfew. The full meeting is available online here.

I walked the streets of my city on the night of mayhem Saturday, and witnessed the destruction. I saw the fires burning in the street. I heard the sound of glass shattering, of people cheering. I felt the warmth from a fire as it swallowed a police vehicle on a quiet intersection.

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