‘This was an injustice’: Lawsuit filed against police, prosecutor in activist’s Macomb County arrest

Protest blocked intersection of 23 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue

A well-known local activist believes he was wrongly arrested and charged for exercising his right to protest. Two years later, he's taking that claim to federal court.

A well-known local activist believes he was wrongly arrested and charged for exercising his right to protest. Two years later, he’s taking that claim to federal court.

Local 4 cameras were there in Shelby Township as he and others staged a protest which blocked the intersection of 23 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue.

A major lawsuit has been filed against Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide and Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido for their roles in Activist Rev. W.J. Rideout Jr arrest and prosecution.

“I know how people feel, those who were unarmed and shot and killed,” said Rideout. “What if I would have been shot and killed? What if one of them would have took a bullet and gave me that bullet.”

The suit says Rideout was wrongfully arrested and charged on July 22, 2020, two days after exercising his right to free speech, calling for the chief’s resignation.

That protest occurred shortly after it was revealed the chief was using a fake Twitter account for racist commentary on protests happening worldwide.

“If it would have been me or you, we would have been gone,” Rideout said. “Colors matter in America.”

Charges were later dropped, but the questioned protest happened amid high tensions between civilians and police officers in response to the death of George Floyd.

Rideout’s lawyer says it’s a clear difference in how both sides of the protest were treated.

“People that we’re there to deliver the message that Chief Shelide approved of had a much different experience in Shelby Township than people that expressed a different view,” said Attorney Azzam Elder.

Shelby Township Attorney Rob Huth was there to respond to the lawsuit and its allegations.

He says Rideout was arrested for taking his protest into a busy roadway.

“The only rule was that we asked folks not to step out into the road,” said Huth. “And that’s what you’re going to find out in this lawsuit. The underlying allegation is that people were given citations that stepped out into the road. Vandyke is busy, and we didn’t want people there.”

“I believe the powers that be,” Rideout said. “DOJ on down, Attorney General on down, federal, everyone should step in and say this was an injustice.”

Right now, the damages being sought out aren’t being named.


About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.