Detroit activist released from jail: 'I'm ready to march'
Detroit — An organizer of the ongoing protests in the city was released from jail Wednesday after being detained the night prior for resisting police and ignoring orders, the city's police chief said.
Tristan Taylor, a 37-year-old Detroiter and activist, was among those arrested Tuesday night by Detroit police, nearly an hour after the city's temporary 8 p.m. curfew had elapsed.
Police Chief James Craig said during a Wednesday news conference that officers moved in on members of the group gathered by a Dollar General parking lot on the city's east side after issuing four warnings.
Taylor, he said, the leader of the group, was initially facing felony charges of inciting a riot. But Craig said "after an exhaustive review," officials deemed the charge against Taylor was not warranted.
"We need to make adjustments based on the facts and Tristan never advocated for hurting police officers and members of this community," Craig said. "While he did violate the curfew and failed to follow an order given by a police officer, that's the extent of it."
Taylor, a volunteer organizer for the Charlevoix Village Association, was arrested Tuesday for a misdemeanor of resisting and not following orders.
Taylor said he was released at 2 p.m. He went to his lawyer's office and then to the demonstration. He never went home.
He said he didn’t know why it took police so long to release him.
“It showed disrespect to me, Detroit and the people of Detroit,” Taylor said.
He said he and his family plan to ignore the curfew tonight, and he relayed those sentiments to a cheering crowd downtown.
“It’s great to be free today,” he said to tears. “I’m ready to march."
Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said earlier Wednesday that the matter was being handled by Detroit's law department.
Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia noted that while the prosecutor is in charge of citing people for violations of state law in Wayne County, the law department "has its own authority to prosecute violations of city ordinances."
"Mr. Taylor is being cited for violating several city regulations — curfew violation, interference with city employee, disorderly conduct," Garcia said in a statement. "These are all 90-day misdemeanors, but often the judge imposes a penalty below the maximum allowed under law."
By Any Means Necessary, a coalition behind many of the city protests in recent days, posted on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon that Taylor had been released from custody and with "no felony charges."
"NO Detroit Jury would Ever Convict Tristan or other protesters for 'inciting to riot,'" the post reads. "Let's keep marching!"