DETROIT – When protest leaders handed a list of demands to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and police Chief James Craig, one of the top items was calling for the elimination of Project Green Light cameras.
The idea behind Project Green Light is to use cameras linked to police to keep the community safe. But the protest group that met with Duggan and Craig is demanding the city turn off those cameras.
Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, there have been nightly protests across the nation, including in Detroit.
The leader of the protest group Detroit Can Breathe got a face-to-face meeting with Duggan and Craig to deliver a list of demands on behalf of the protesters.
The first item on the list was to defund the police. No. 2 was to end Project Green Light.
Detroit business owner Nasser Beydoun helped come up with the idea, along with Duggan and Craig.
“It’s been successful,” Beydoun said. “The catalyst was a rash of carjackings.”
Beydoun owns the Marathon gas station at McNichols Road and Wyoming Avenue. He was the first person to put in cameras that feed images to Detroit police officers.
Now there are Project Green Light cameras all over the city. Businesses pay big money for those cameras.
City officials said crime at Green Light businesses is down 23%. Others criticize having to buy into the program.
Now, protesters want the cameras shut down, especially their use in facial recognition technology.
Beydoun said he’s seen an increase in business because of Project Green Light. He said elderly customers feel more at ease.
Detroiters have a say in the matter, too. It will be up to them if Project Green Light continues or is shut down, Beydoun said.
Other demands on the protesters’ list included making Detroit a sanctuary city and a requirement that all DPD officers live in the city of Detroit.