Group calls for firing of Dearborn officer

The Detroit News

Members with a local group are calling on Dearborn officials to fire a city police officer after the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American man last month.

The group, New Era Detroit, also claims it was barred from a City Council meeting Tuesday when members sought action to address Kevin Matthews’ death across the Dearborn border in Detroit. Members posted a nearly 10-minute clip this week on Facebook that shows a large crowd gathered outside what appeared to be Dearborn administration building. Some repeatedly knocked on the doors but were not able to get in.

“We demand the police officer that shot and killed Kevin Matthews be fired immediately,” one man identified as belonging to New Era Detroit is recorded as saying in the clip. “That’s why we’re here.”

The members continually said in the video that city officials had 48 hours to honor the request. The Facebook post indicated the firing should happen by that deadline “or else,” but didn’t elaborate.

City officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night.

The death of Matthews, 35, by a Dearborn police officer on Dec. 23 has been controversial. Matthews’ friends and family describe him as harmless and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Dearborn police claim he went for an officer’s gun before he was fatally shot on Whitcomb on Detroit’s west side.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, Dearborn police have said; the Detroit Police Department is investigating the case.

Matthews’ death has sparked a number of vigils and protests — including one last week in Dearborn led by the National Action Network in which more than 100 demonstrators marched down Michigan Avenue calling for justice.