GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. – A steady flowing line of protesters Sunday circled their way around Wayburn Street in Grosse Pointe Park to clearly voice their disgust of an open display of racism. UPDATE: No charges after klan flag hangs next to Black family’s home in Grosse Pointe Park
“I’m a strong supporter of the community and to find out that our neighbors or one neighbor is not in unity with everyone or inclusive with everyone, it’s truly upsetting,” said
Grosse Point Park resident, Lynette Halalay.
Their protest comes after a home displayed a red black and white Ku Klux Klan flag in window facing an African American woman’s home.
“I think my ancestors couldn’t protest a KKK sign so I wanted to make sure that we were out here,” Phyllis Lee. “This is the least we could do.”
But it’s the large headcount and diversity of the of protesters that gives the most hope at all.
“A lot of people are against it and more for love than hate and believe that there is a better future,” said Art Lee
And that’s confirmed by two children who at even an early age realize -- this isn’t right.
“Whoever put up the flag, they shouldn’t have done that. It’s really important to make sure that no one else does a thing like that again,” said Juliette Laurenceau.
“Everybody needs to be nice to each other and not like, show each other hate,” said, Sophia Laurenceau.
Police did ask the man inside the home to pull the flag down. Right now they’re investigating to see if there needs to be any further action taken.
Officials with the city of Grosse Pointe Park released the following statement:
At approximately 3:00pm Tuesday February 16th the Grosse Pointe Park Department of Public Safety was made aware of a Ku Klux Klan flag displayed in a window that faces the home of an African-American woman. Officers were promptly sent to the home to investigate and address the situation. The officers made contact with a resident of the home displaying the flag and the resident agreed to remove the flag from the window due to its offensive nature.
The Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department serves all residents of our community no matter their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion. We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all residents of this community and we take every matter brought before our department seriously. Intolerance, hate, and ignorance have no home in the Park. Threats, either real or perceived, will not be tolerated. The Department is reviewing the facts and its records to ensure its officers have consistently acted appropriately and in accordance with policy. If any legal action is allowed or warranted under the law, the City will take such action.
The Mayor, City Council, Public Safety Department and City Manager have been in touch with the resident who reported the flag to offer our support and help. We are committed to ensuring that residents feel safe and that all people are welcome and respected in our community.
City of Grosse Pointe Park
The Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods branch of the NAACP released the following statement:
On February 15, 2021 an African-American resident of Grosse Pointe Park discovered her neighbor had displayed a KKK flag in a side window facing her windows. This long-time symbol of racial hatred has no place in our community. Thankfully, the offensive display was taken down by the homeowner.
The fact that a KKK flag was displayed at all is deeply disturbing. Grosse Pointe Park is arguably the most diverse city in the five Grosse Pointes and yet, someone felt comfortable enough to wave their racism in their neighbor’s face with the oldest symbol of white, domestic terrorism perpetuated on Black Americans for over a hundred years.
This signals a deeper challenge we must all overcome in our community. For while the response from other neighbors and people of goodwill has been overwhelmingly positive, this incident occurred after the victim reported to police she had discovered a gas can, full of gasoline, inserted in her covered trash bin placed next to her house. Who places a gas can, full of gas, inside a closed trash bin and for what reason? We will never know. When officers arrived, the Black neighbor says she was told there really wasn’t anything they could do. Now weeks later, she didn’t even want to call the Grosse Pointe Public Safety Department for help with what is clearly an attempt at ethnic intimidation by displaying the KKK flag directly at her and her family.
When any resident of any city feels like they can’t turn to law enforcement for help because the issue involves race, then we have failed as a community in our responsibility to protect each other.
The Grosse Pointe Park patrol force is 100-percent white and male. No person of color has ever patrolled the city streets and only one woman appears to have done so in the city’s 71-year history.
That fact must change. A modern, diverse police force would have a very different response to investigating acts of ethnic intimidation and potential domestic terrorism. The current search for a new director of public safety must bring forward experienced, qualified candidates of color, women and law enforcement executives with a demonstrated commitment to protecting everyone in a multiracial community.
The status quo is not acceptable any longer. We as residents of Grosse Pointe Park, members of the Grosse Pointes & Harper Woods NAACP Branch and the wider community demand our public safety departments look like the community they are sworn to protect and serve. We need all public safety departments to take all threats of ethnic intimidation and domestic terrorism against citizens more seriously.
We can and must do better for all of the people, of all racial backgrounds living and working in the five Pointes. Hate and a casual attitude towards acts of hatred against African-Americans must stop now.
Grosse Pointes & Harper Woods NAACP Branch
Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.