Police shootings spur march, rally in downtown Detroit

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Tachae Davis proudly strode down Woodward as the sun set over the downtown Detroit skyline Monday, shouting “Justice!” near traffic roaring past.

Staci Hirsch, an organizer for Jews for Justice at the Black Lives Matter protest held in front of the Spirit of Detroit and marched toward Campus Martius, Monday July 25, 2016.

The activist in the group Fighting Imperialism, Stand Together felt obligated to join about 25 others who streamed from the Spirit of Detroit statue to Campus Martius, demanding an end to deadly encounters with police.

Though the recent officer-involved fatal shootings of two African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota as well as other slayings have spurred many protests and public discussions, Davis wants to keep speaking out about the ongoing issue.

“The more you get your voice out, the more you make it heard and the more they know you’re not going to put up with it,” she said while standing in the crowd.

Outcry over injustice marked Monday’s solidarity march, which was promoted on social media and drew activists from groups such as Detroit Jews for Justice and other community members.

Jeffery Falick, Rabbi of the Birmingham temple, at the Black Lives Matter protest held in front of the Spirit of Detroit and marched toward Campus Martius, Monday July 25, 2016.

The demonstration follows others in Michigan and across the nation associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, decrying alleged discriminatory police practices and biased treatment.

It also came the week after a similar gathering on what would have been the 14th birthday of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was fatally shot when police raided her family’s east side home May 16, 2010. Organizers with Black Lives Matter Detroit and other groups who gathered at the Third Precinct building — where six protesters were arrested — demanded the immediate firing of Officer Joseph Weekley, who led the Detroit Police Special Response on the raid.

Such incidents show why more protests are needed to spark change, noted author Writer L. Bush told the crowd outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. “Situations like that will go on until we decide to do something about it.”

The participants also addressed criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement after five officers were fatally shot at an associated rally in Dallas this month.

The point of protesting was to prevent further wrongs, said Been Frank, who is active with Detroit for Black Lives. “We need to push for unification of all people in every region. … This is a global problem.”

That’s why Laura Jones, who is white, marched downtown with a neon yellow sign that read “Stop Killing Black People.”

“Seeing black men murdered, seeing the murders captured on video and seeing very little consequence for the killers that are policemen — it’s an outrage and it scares me because it’s a slippery slope,” she said. “When are they going to come after people because of their religion or lack of religion or political persuasion? Who’s next?”