Metro Detroit pastors join chorus of leaders encouraging peaceful protests amid weekend demonstrations

Local pastors say protests can lead to change if they remain non-violent

DETROIT – Metro Detroiters are taking to the streets of Downtown Detroit for a third day to protest police brutality following the killing of black Minneapolis man George Floyd.

MORE: Ex-Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in death of George Floyd

Friday’s protest in Detroit began peacefully but later became more chaotic, as one man was killed and more than 60 demonstrators were taken into police custody Friday night and early Saturday morning.

MORE: 1 killed, multiple arrests made during protests in Downtown Detroit


Police say there is no indication that the 21-year-old man’s death was related to the protests.

Similarly Saturday’s protest in Detroit began peacefully until demonstrators became agitated when police ensured they kept their distance from the Detroit Police Department’s headquarters.

Still, local pastors are calling on demonstrators to protest peacefully after long nights of tear gas and arrests by Detroit police.

Bishop J. Drew Sheard says he’s hurt and outraged by Floyd’s death and will join the protestors, but says some are drowning out the main message by turning violent.

“You have to understand that your voice is heard when you are not destroying property or hurting police officers," Sheard said.

Two police officers were hurt and will recover, according to Detroit Police Chief James Craig during a press conference Saturday afternoon. Several squad cars were also damaged during Friday’s protests.


Though the city of Detroit has not experienced the same destruction of property that is happening in other protesting cities, Bishop Edgar Vann at Second Ebenezer Church says the protests will only lead to change if they remain peaceful.

RELATED: Grand Rapids clean-up underway after night of fiery protests

“Let’s keep the protests strong but let’s keep them non-violent," Vann said. “Let’s protest, let’s let our voices be heard -- but let’s not get out of order with it.”

Bishop Vann has also condemned “provocateurs” coming to Detroit, saying they’re distracting from the important message protestors are trying to send.


MORE: Leaders call out protesters from suburbs who participated in violent Detroit George Floyd protest


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