Dearborn cops slam open carry protest, other incidents

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Dearborn's police chief on Thursday condemned a group of armed individuals who marched down Schaefer, another man who left a threatening voicemail at the American Moslem Society, and a suspect accused of pulling a gun during a fight at Chuck E. Cheese's.

All three unrelated incidents occurred on Sunday, according to Chief Ronald Haddad. The incidents, along with a recent, erroneous social media post referring to a unsubstantiated home invasion spree, all served to "instill fear" in the community.

"These are equally destructive to the well-being of the community," Haddad said during a morning press conference at police headquarters. "This kind of behavior in the city is totally unacceptable and we will do everything we can to keep our community safe."

Haddad first addressed the armed individuals who walked along Schaefer from Blesser to Warren. They appeared to protest in support of two men who were arrested earlier this month after walking into the police station wearing tactical vests and armed with cameras, an AP-14 and a handgun, he said.

Four of Sunday's protesters appeared to be armed while a fifth accompanied them, Haddad said. No one was arrested and none of them were Dearborn residents.

"We had a small group of people come into the city and do an open-carry," he said. "I for one don’t think … getting all armed up and walking down the street is a projection of your Second Amendment rights. Rather, I think it’s an intrusion on the safety of a good community."

The march occurred mid-morning during busy traffic and business hours, soliciting calls to the city's 911 center and prompting police to be on alert, Haddad said.

"We were very much in tune with what was happening and we monitored it closely," he said.

Haddad said he planned to contact local lawmakers to propose tweaking open carry laws, introducing regulations on the practice.

"People’s constitutional rights are defended and upheld," he said. "But I still have a problem with people walking (around armed) just for the purpose of getting a reaction. I think it’s a dangerous route to take and I’m going to do everything I can to try and get the state to look at that."

Also Sunday, an unknown man left a threatening voicemail for the American Moslem Society on Vernor, Haddad said. The recording, played to media on Thursday, began with a disparaging comment about Mohammed.

"All Muslims are agents of Satan and they are going to be eradicated," the caller continued. "Everything is gonna change and all the children — all the Muslim children that you have now — you should worry about their future."

Haddad pledged to find and arrest the caller.

"I find this threat that was leveled against this mosque to be totally unacceptable and malicious," he said. "Let me tell you that we’re going to use every resource to ID that caller."

The last Sunday incident involved a fight at an area Chuck E. Cheese's, according to the chief.

"We had a family there for a birthday party of all things," Haddad said. "An argument ensued and guns were pulled."

A man named Chauntez Stephens allegedly fled the restaurant after pulling a firearm from his pants during a fight with another individual, Haddad said. He ran outside where he was confronted by a private security guard.

The guard ordered Stephens to drop his weapon and the man complied, Haddad said.

Stephens was arrested Monday and confessed, Haddad said. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and received a bond of $25,000, 10 percent at arraignment. He is due back in court March 3.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad addresses a string of incidents that occurred Sunday.

Haddad also addressed the erroneous social media post referring to a phony crime wave in Dearborn.

"Somebody put a thing out on social media reporting that they had talked to me, and that I had warned them about people dressed in traditional Arab garb that were lining up people to be robbed in their homes," Haddad said. "I can tell you that report is completely false."

The post warned readers about home invasions committed by women dressed in traditional Arabic clothing, who tricked victims into allowing them to enter the home.

No such incidents have been reported to police, Haddad said.

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