Protesters push back against federal agents in Detroit, latest police shooting

Vowing to push back against a federal presence in Detroit as well as fight for ending systemic racism and police brutality, dozens of demonstrators marched again in downtown Detroit on Friday.

Amid a fourth police-involved shooting and growing concerns about economic fallout from the pandemic, the protesters said their efforts remain important in seeking a national transformation in policing.

The man became the fourth person to be shot by Detroit police this month, and the third fatality.

“We’re seeing a movement that is shaking the foundation of this country,” said Tristan Taylor, an organizer with Detroit Will Breathe. His group and others gathered in the shadow of the McNamara building to prepare marchers for a march through the city as well as another protest set for Saturday on the east side.

“We are looking for people to stand with us shoulder to shoulder to unequivocally express our power,” Taylor said. “…We need to say in a forceful way, federal agents, out of Detroit now.”

The crowd of 100 that met at the federal building before marching toward Midtown held signs such as “Keep your secret police” and “How many more,” a reference to officer-involved deaths.

Taylor noted the event happened a day after police said a man wielding a sword near Grand River and Meyers in Detroit and who threw a dagger at an officer was fatally shot by police. Taylor said the outcome differed from one in Westland last month in which a driver who turned donuts in an intersection before the SUV erupted in smoke and flames was arrested but not harmed by police.

“There’s a problem” in policing, he said.

Some activists who spoke connected the protests to broader calls for action to stop evictions, water shutoffs and other issues.

Marian Kramer, who leads the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, commended the protesters for staying committed all summer to speak out.

“You are the one who is going to lead this fight,” she said. “… It’s to build a better future for these young people who are coming up.”

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