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Ypsilanti clinic to offer free car repairs to help prevent ‘dangerous’ police interactions

Individuals can receive simple exterior fixes to vehicles on Sept. 26

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YPSILANTI, Mich. – A group of Metro Detroit organizations have come together to provide free minor auto repairs in hopes of preventing potentially dangerous interactions with law enforcement and immigration authorities, officials said.

Members from the Mutual Aid Network of Ypsilanti, Peace House Ypsilanti and the Huron Valley Democratic Socialists of America will host a “Pull Over Prevention Clinic” on Sept. 26 in Ypsilanti to provide simple exterior fixes to cars, like replacing broken lights.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., visitors can receive services including free brake light and headlight replacements, fluid checks and refills and other basic maintenance at Parkridge Park. Trained mechanics can also offer free consultations regarding more serious vehicular issues.

According to the group, the clinic is meant to help community members avoid traffic stops that could potentially result in serious consequences like deportation, or even death.

“These outcomes can be avoided by preventing the traffic stops themselves, and that’s what we hoped to do with this clinic,” said organizer Jonah Hahn.

Educational materials at the clinic, such as information about how to handle interactions with police and members of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will also be available at the clinic.

The new clinic was created amid a national racial crisis sparked when a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a Black man, earlier this year.

Since Floyd’s killing in May, many Americans have decried racism and police brutality -- both of which have led to recent numerous killings of Black people and other minority Americans.

A number of violent interactions between minority Americans and police officers are initiated by traffic stops, like in the infamous case of the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile, a Black man, in Minnesota.

Another Black man was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies after he was stopped for a traffic violation while riding a bike on Monday. A police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back seven times on Aug. 23, leaving him paralyzed.

Individuals who have questions about or want to get involved with the Pull Over Prevention Clinic can email outreach@ypsimutualaid.com.

Officials say social distancing and public health guidelines will be followed at the clinic to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).


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