Firearms instructor to host rally against hate
Lansing — A Detroit firearms instructor and Second Amendment advocate is planning a rally next week to protest two high-profile out-of-state shootings, and attacks "directed at people of color."
Rick Ector, owner of Legally Armed in Detroit, is organizing the "Blacks And Latinos Against Racist Empowerment" rally at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Michigan Capitol.
Ector said he was prompted to hold the rally after the shooting deaths of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, both of whom were black.
Taylor was killed March 13 when Louisville police officers executing a search warrant entered her home during a narcotics investigation and opened fire.
Police said they were returning fire after Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot one officer in the apartment, wounding him. Walker's attorney has said in court filings that officers didn't announce themselves and Walker fired in self-defense.
Arbery was fatally shot Feb. 23 following a fight with a father and son, who are white. Federal prosecutors are considering charging the case as a hate crime.
The men told police they chased Arbery because they thought he was a burglar. They were arrested more than two months after the shooting, when video of the incident surfaced, and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.
"A lot of our nation's focus is being concentrated and focused on the coronavirus and its impact on the economy, but little time is being said about racial minorities being killed across the nation," Ector said in a release. "The deaths are a sober reminder that the world is not a safe place."
State Rep. Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit is scheduled to speak at the rally. Whitsett recently made national headlines after she thanked President Donald Trump for touting the drug hydroxychloroquine, which she said saved her life after she contracted the COVID-19 virus.
The comment by Whitsett, a first-term lawmaker, angered the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party organization, which voted 15-0 to kick her out of the group.
Also expected to appear: Marcus Weldon, a Southfield resident who was acquitted of attempted murder after he shot two men he says pulled a gun on him at a downtown Detroit gas station on Dec. 21, 2014.
Weldon became known as the "Santa shooter," because he was dressed in a Santa Claus suit during the shooting, which happened as he and a female co-worker were leaving an office Christmas party. A jury found him not guilty.
Other scheduled speakers include Maj Toure, from the group Black Guns Matter, and former 36th District Court magistrate Kerry Leon Jackson. Firearms instructor Tanisha Newton is scheduled to emcee the rally.