Judge dismisses Detroit’s controversial countersuit against anti-police brutality protesters
click to enlarge Steve NeavlingDetroit Will Breathe protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against police brutality over the summer. The city of Detroit lost another legal battle with protesters of police brutality and racial injustice.A federal judge dismissed the city’s controversial countersuit against Detroit Will Breathe protesters on Wednesday, saying it failed to show that demonstrators conspired to commit acts of violence and vandalism over the summer.“The City does not plead any specific allegations of any specific plaintiff conspiring with another to commit an unlawful act,” U.S. District Judge Laurie J. Michelson wrote in the decision. “The City focuses on allegedly unlawful actions that occurred at the protests without alleging that any specific plaintiffs agreed to commit those acts.”The city filed the countersuit in response to Detroit Will Breathe's lawsuit in August that alleged police used unnecessary, excessive force to break up peaceful demonstrations against police brutality.Critics of the countersuit said it amounted to a tax-subsidized assault on free speech.“It was frivolous,” Jack Schulz, an attorney for the National Lawyers Guild, which filed the lawsuit, tells. “To me, it was continued retaliation for standing up for their rights.”Detroit’s top attorney Lawrence Garcia tells, “We are disappointed in the ruling, but we accept it.”The decision to dismiss the countersuit comes about two weeks after a 36th District Court judge tossed out charges against eight protesters for their roles in the summer demonstrations.On Jan. 14, another 36th District Judge dismissed charges against 28 protesters , saying police failed to provide information such as the identities of arresting officers and body cam footage that could be used during a trial.About two weeks later, the city dropped charges against 238 protestersmetrotimes.com
Metro Detroit activists say work is far from over as Derek Chauvin’s trial begins
DETROIT – Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killed George Floyd. After more than 100 days of protest over the summer in cities across Metro Detroit, activists said their work is far from done. “This is how we stand up in defense of our lives,” Wallace said. Activists said they’re prepared too. READ: Detroit Protests
Detroit police prepare for potential protests ahead of Derek Chauvin trial verdict in George Floyd case
DETROIT – Derek Chauvin will stand trial for the death of George Floyd Monday. There are concerns that the verdict in the trial could spark violence or protests. “The need to be the forces that de-escalated conflict and stop being a force that implements inequality,” said Tristan Taylor, with Detroit Will Breathe. “We want justice for George Floyd and if we don’t get it, we expect an explosion that happened last summer to happen again,” Taylor said. READ: Detroit Protests“We support peaceful protests, but when individuals embedded within peaceful protesters opt to engage in criminal behavior, then we will address that,” Craig said.
Some concerned Biden administration extension of foreclosure moratorium to June 30 is not enough
DETROIT – “It definitely, you know, helps address or prevent a kind of immediate catastrophe. However, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Detroit Will Breathe has been fighting to stop evictions throughout the pandemic and points out this extension only applies to government-backed mortgages. “It’s just another way that black and brown working class people are disproportionately affected by the crises of capitalism in the global pandemic,” said Taylor. The Biden administration estimates the extension will benefit 2.7 million homeowners and extend forbearance options for nearly 11 million government backed mortgages.
Detroit Will Breathe calls on Macomb County prosecutor to drop charges against protestors
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Detroit Will Breathe is calling on the Macomb County prosecutor to drop felony charges against five people arrested during a protest in October. “We are prepared to keep showing up and demanding accountability,” said Detroit Will Breathe organizer Sammie Lewis. Shelby Township police said they made arrests after marchers disobeyed orders to remain on the sidewalk and started blocking traffic. “At the end of the day, those who break the law should pay for their crimes, and those that don’t break the law will never get charged,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido. Detroit Will Breathe said it was protesting in Shelby Township after Police Chief Robert Shelide posted inflammatory comments against Black Lives Matter protestors.
Residents gather to protest single mother, children evicted from Detroit home
DETROIT – Members of the Detroit Eviction Defense and Detroit Will Breathe peacefully demonstrated Saturday outside the Detroit Police Department’s 10th Precinct. The demonstration started at noon. The protesters called for justice and said Whitney Burney and her family were illegally evicted by their landlord in December with the help of Detroit police officers. Detroit police said the eviction should not have happened and the city is working to find a home for Burney and her four children. The driver of the Ford is expected to be OK, but the driver of the Chevrolet was critically injured.
Judge drops charges against 28 Black Lives Matter protesters in Detroit
click to enlarge Steve NeavlingDetroit Will Breathe co-founder Tristan Taylor (right). Charges dismissed against 28 Detroit protesters in court. This was the result of collective arrestee organizing and legal support from @NLGMichigan. The settlement offer was not extended to Detroit Will Breathe co-founder Tristan Taylor.“Through a collective defense strategy, the arrested protesters rejected this deal and stood together to maintain that all of our arrests were illegal,” the group said. “By standing together we won a dismissal of the charges rather than settling and conceding ground to the police.metrotimes.com
Kevin Saunderson and Idris Elba debut new video with Detroit Will Breathe activists center stage
click to enlarge Screen grab/YouTubeStill from 'We All Move Together.' The group marched for more than 100 days following his death demanding racial justice, police reform, and transparency.“You could be anywhere in the globe tonight, we salute your soul because you chose light,” Elba chants.Saunderson's Inner City teamed up with Elba for the track and Detroit's Eightfold Collective for the accompanying black and white video,reports. “Our platforms can shine global light on the amazing work they do, and it takes the message of the track to an even higher place.”The end of the video is dedicated to detailing the accomplishments of Detroit Will Breathe, despite the fervent opposition of DPD Police Chief James Craig, who, last month admitted to treating Detroit Will Breathe activists differently than those supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed Detroit's presidential ballot counting center last month. Chief Craig claims those protesters acted peacefully, while DWB did not.“Since forming, they have overturned the arbitrary, unjust, and racist 8 p.m. curfew imposed to squash protester rights,” the video for “We All Move Together” reads. “Brought scrutiny to the DPD, including a federal restraining order barring them from brutalizing protestors,” as well as “exposed an attempt to cover up police misconduct related to the death of a Black woman in police custody.”Watch the video for “We Move Together” belowmetrotimes.com
Detroit Police Chief admits to treating 'peaceful' Trump supporters differently than Black Lives Matter protesters
click to enlarge Rusty YoungA Trump supporter wielding a sign alleging voter fraud outside of Detroit's TCF Center. )Craig said the TCF Center protesters didn't get the rubber bullet/tear gas treatment typically reserved for the Black Lives Matter protesters because he claimed they were peaceful. ” As of Monday, the Detroit Police Department is countersuing, alleging Detroit Will Breathe's lawsuit “ resulted in conspiracy against the department. "And they have said, they are tired of this Detroit Will Breathe and they need to go home," he said. "Detroit Will Breathe has met dozens of times to march peacefully without incident.A “terrific” and “incredible representative,” indeed.metrotimes.com
5 Facing Felonies In Shelby Township Following Protest
(CBS DETROIT) – Scathing accusations are being made about the Shelby Township Police Department. Officers are being accused of busting up a rally Saturday strip searching a woman and attacking protesters. “As soon as we arrived there was a heavy police presence and a forceful police presence,” said Nakia Wallace, Detroit Will Breathe. It’s because they’re facing the most serious charges which are the felonious charges,” she said. Shelby Township Police said in a release, protesters were warned to keep their march on the sidewalks but the group refused.detroit.cbslocal.com
Why jazz trumpeter Allen Dennard marches with Detroit Will Breathe
click to enlarge Marc KlockowAllen Dennard at one of the many Detroit Will Breathe marches he attended this year. When jazz trumpeter Allen Dennard, 26, started attending the Detroit Will Breathe protests in June, his purpose was to provide music to the protesters' fight for racial justice. So this is why I'm doing what I'm doing because there is no musical career for me if I'm dead or incarcerated. "Detroit saxophonist De'Sean Jones is another artist who has worked with Dennard and also participated in a few protests following the death of Floyd. "I'm totally thinking of different things now when I solo than I did before I joined Detroit Will Breathe.metrotimes.com
Demonstrators celebrate federal judge’s ruling on 100th day of protesting in Detroit
DETROIT – Saturday’s march in Detroit isn’t just the 100th day of protesting, it’s also the first demonstration since a federal judge gave Detroit Will Breathe a temporary restraining order that forbid police from using teargas or batons on the peaceful protesters. At least 500 people were on the move Saturday in what they called a celebration of the judge’s ruling. The group celebrated with a silver balloon outside Detroit Police Headquarters where, just two weeks ago, DPD fired teargas and made arrests to disperse a crowd. Federal judge Laurie Michelson viewed teargas and batons as excessive force and Detroit Will Breathe leader, Tristan Taylor, views the decision as a partial victory. RELATED: Judge temporarily bars Detroit police from using certain tactics against protesters
Demonstrators celebrate federal judge’s ruling on 100th day of protesting in Detroit
Demonstrators celebrate federal judge’s ruling on 100th day of protesting in DetroitPublished: September 5, 2020, 11:11 pmSaturday’s march in Detroit isn’t just the 100th day of protesting, it’s also the first demonstration since a federal judge gave Detroit Will Breathe a temporary restraining order that forbid police from using teargas or batons on the peaceful protesters.
ClickOnDetroit Morning Briefing -- Sept. 6, 2020
On Saturday, activist group Detroit Will Breathe held a protest outside Detroit Police Headquarters in response to a federal judges order issued Friday that temporarily bars police from using certain tactics against protesters. President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks in Michigan on Thursday, one day after former vice president and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden plans to visit the state. The threat of the coronavirus is looming over Labor Day weekend and public health experts say this could be a make or break moment as fall arrives. Gatherings over Memorial Day and the Fourth of July both led to increased cases. The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 106,215 as of Sunday morning, including 6,534 deaths, state officials report.
Detroit statue vandalized amid ongoing racial unrest in US cities
DETROIT A Detroit statue was found vandalized on Michigan Avenue at Washington Boulevard Saturday as racial unrest continues to shake up cities across the country. The vandalized statue located in the Washington Boulevard Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places decades ago. The Gen. Alexander Macomb monument looking north on Washington Boulevard in Detroit was targeted. The statue was found vandalized with the words, Slave Owner Land Thief spray painted with red on it after protesters held a rally in Detroit Saturday night. Amid the ongoing racial unrest and protests Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan ordered the citys Christopher Columbus bust to be removed.
Detroit Will Breathe to hold rally in celebration of federal judge’s order on police tactics
DETROIT – Detroit Will Breathe is holding a celebratory rally at 6 p.m. outside Detroit Police Headquarters in response to a federal judge’s order issued Friday that temporarily bars police from using certain tactics against protesters. The judge’s order bans police from using tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and shields against protesters. The restraining order was issued after Detroit Will Breathe filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Detroit Police Department for excessive use of force. So they pulled the federal agents back in Portland and the riots continued,” he said. “The federal agents are in Detroit to do one thing and one thing only, to work with this department, which we’ve worked with federal agents for 26-years,” he said.
Judge temporarily bars Detroit police from using certain tactics against protesters
DETROIT – A judge has temporarily barred Detroit police officers from using certain tactics against protesters. Detroit Will Breathe’s motion was granted, in part, for a temporary restraining order against the city of Detroit, specifically the Detroit Police Department. Detroit Will Breathe and 14 individuals alleged that Detroit police responded to protests with excessive force and violated their first and fourth amendment rights. A lawsuit was filed with the plaintiffs seeking a temporary restraining order enjoining the city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department from using certain tactics. Read: 42 arrested during Detroit protest against increased presence of federal agentsRead the court document below:Read the scheduling order below:
Operation Legend in Detroit: More than 40 people charged with federal offenses
Through the initiative, 41 people have been reportedly charged with federal offenses in Detroit, including narcotics-related and firearms-related offenses. Authorities say that as of August 31, Operation Legend has led to the arrests of more than 2,000 people -- with 476 of them charged with federal offenses -- in participating cities nationwide. One of the groups organized protests against Operation Legend turned violent, leaving a number of protesters injured or in custody. Operation Legend is also currently active in St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis as of August. Click here to read the latest report on Operation Legend arrests and indictments made in participating cities.
Violent clash between Detroit police and protesters leads to arrests
Police Chief James Craig is drawing a line in the sand between his police force and the group, Detroit Will Breathe. Members of the group organized a protest against Operation Legend that took place Saturday. Operation Legend has brought an increased number of federal agents to Detroit who are focused on fighting gun violence. After multiple warnings that took place over an hour police say they moved in after someone pointed a laser at them. Operation Legend in Detroit
Dozens tear-gassed, arrested on Woodward Avenue amid Downtown Detroit protest
DETROIT – More than 40 protesters were taken into custody Saturday night as they blocked off Woodward Avenue between John R. Street and Grand River Avenue. About 100 people gathered on Woodward Avenue in a protest against “Operation Legend” -- an initiative established to address increasing gun and gang violence in cities across the U.S., including in Detroit. The group Detroit Will Breathe has expressed their opposition to the initiative, which brings additional federal agents to Detroit and other participating U.S. cities. Saturday night’s protest in Downtown Detroit went smoothly, for the most part, until about midnight. A Detroit Police Department spokesperson said half of the people arrested were not from the city of Detroit.
42 arrested during Detroit protest against increased presence of federal agents
DETROIT – Several people were arrested during a protest against Operation Legend on Saturday night in Downtown Detroit. According to the Detroit Police Department, a total of 42 protesters were arrested. The group Detroit Will Breathe organized the protest to speak out against federal agents who were sent by President Donald Trump’s administration to assist with increasing gun violence. Detroit Will Breathe is holding a meeting at 6 p.m. today outside Detroit Police Headquarters to discuss last night’s protest and police response. Operation Legend in Detroit
ClickOnDetroit Morning Briefing -- Aug. 2, 2020
A group called Detroit Will Breathe protested against more federal agents coming to Detroit. US officials on Wednesday provided additional details regarding Operation Legend -- which is bringing a number of federal agents to Detroit in the coming weeks. The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 82,356 as of Sunday morning, including 6,206 deaths, state officials report. Heres a look at more of the data:It will be soggy today with a Flash Flood Watch in effect. DETAILS: Flash Flood Watch in effect for some Michigan counties until Sunday afternoon
Protesters push back against Federal presence in Detroit
DETROIT – Activist group “Detroit Will Breathe” is protesting against more Federal Agents coming to Detroit. Their main message is federal agents are not wanted and not welcomed in Detroit. All of this happened because of ‘Operation Legend.’ United States officials said more federal agents are coming to Detroit in the next couple of weeks to help ease the recent violence in Detroit, and agents are here to assist with the gun violence. Police Chief James Craig spoke about this partnership on the national stage. RELATED: Surge of federal agents leaves many questions unanswered
Protesters push back against Federal presence in Detroit
Protesters push back against Federal presence in DetroitPublished: August 1, 2020, 6:16 pmTheir main message is federal agents are not wanted and not welcomed in Detroit. All of this happened because of ‘Operation Legend’. United States officials said more federal agents are coming to Detroit in the next couple of weeks to help ease the recent violence in Detroit, and agents are here to assist with the gun violence.
Activist group ‘Detroit Will Breathe’ calls for police chief James Craig’s resignation
DETROIT – Activist group “Detroit Will Breathe” is calling for Detroit Police chief James Craig to resign in the wake of multiple officer involved shootings over the past few weeks. The leader of the group, Tristan Taylor, said he thinks none of the shootings were justified. “In two of the cases, the victims shot by the police were on the ground when they were shot. In two deadly officer involved shootings video shows that the men were not on the ground when police first shot. Craig said the department releases video of shootings as fast as possible so the public can see what happened.
Activist group ‘Detroit Will Breathe’ calls for police chief James Craig’s resignation
Activist group ‘Detroit Will Breathe’ calls for police chief James Craig’s resignationPublished: July 28, 2020, 5:46 pmActivist group “Detroit Will Breathe” is calling for Detroit Police chief James Craig to resign in the wake of multiple officer involved shootings over the past few weeks.
Detroit robotics teacher takes charge to keep protest calm
DETROIT Stephanie Broddie is a teacher, a life long Detroiter and someone who cares deeply about her community. She barely stands five feet tall, but she managed to keep a protest peaceful with just her presence. My uncle used to work at that precinct, so all I can think is Are you guys serious? Broddie isnt used to being in the spotlight, but she regularly gives back to the community. She teaches robotics and other STEM based programs to children in Detroit.
DPD launches investigation into officers use of a chokehold on protester
DETROIT Police announced Sunday they have launched an investigation into the use of a choke hold on a protester. The investigation was in response of a photo of Detroit Will Breathe organizer Nakia Wallace being restrained with a chokehold Friday. Three officers took me to the ground and after I was already on the ground one, of them put me in a choke hold, Wallace recalled. William Meeko Williams was arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer. The organization will hold a protest Monday outside the Detroit Detention Center to continue to call for his release.
Brother of Hakim Littleton speaks out, wants meeting with Detroit city officials
Hakim Littleton’s older brother, Rashad Littleton-Schaefer, spoke out against what he calls a crime before a group of protesters organized by Detroit Will Breathe. “I want Chief James Craig to stop lying because he’s not making any sense. Police chief James Craig spoke on the matter Saturday morning where it was stated that he still stands behind his officers and their decision to pull the trigger. It certainly was a threat to that of his own life and that of his partners,” said Chief James Craig. “I really wanna meet with James Craig, the mayor of Detroit by next week.
Brother of Hakim Littleton wants meeting with Detroit city officials after deadly shooting
Brother of Hakim Littleton wants meeting with Detroit city officials after deadly shootingPublished: July 11, 2020, 11:14 pmThe brother of Hakim Littleton said he wants to meet with Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and police chief James Craig.
‘Detroit Will Breathe’ reacts to body cam footage of Hakim Littleton’s death
DETROIT – Protests in response to a fatal officer-involved shooting Friday resulted in the arrests of eight people. People gathered at the site hours after 20-year-old Hakim Littleton was shot and killed on Detroit’s west side. During a Friday evening press conference, the Detroit Police Department released body camera footage of the incident to combat rumors on social media that police killed an unarmed teenager. Detroit Will Breathe released a statement Saturday criticizing Detroit police’s decision to have officers in riot gear in response to demonstrators who marched Friday. Detroit Will Breathe said it should be standard that footage of officer-involved shootings be released the day of the incident, as well as the names and records of officers involved.
Caravan protests use of facial recognition technology by Detroit police
DETROIT – Protesters are picketing the homes of Detroit City Council members, asking them to vote down the expansion of facial recognition technology in the city. Facial recognition has been has been a hot topic along with the backlash against Detroit’s Project Green Light cameras. READ: Detroit business owner disagrees with protesters’ demand to end Project Green LightThe group, Detroit Will Breathe, is one of the main protest groups who take to the streets of Detroit on a nightly basis. Their demands include to defund the Detroit Police Department, starting with eliminating the use of facial recognition technology. 'Defund the police’: What it means and why activists are calling for itThe technology is approved by the Board of Police Commissioners.
Protesters announce new demands, public tribunal for Detroit leaders
DETROIT There have been 15 days of protests in Detroit. About a couple of hundred people met at Detroit Police Department first, but before marching, organizers with Detroit Will Breathe announced an addition to their growing demands. Detroit Will Breathe is holding a public Tribunal next Saturday, said Nakia Wallace with Detroit Will Breathe. Organizers Nakia Wallace and Tristian Taylor tell Local 4, they plan on putting both Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Police Chief James Craig on trial next Saturday. RELATED: A look at the Detroit Police Departments guidelines on forceI think its going to be really important for people who were protesting against police brutality to talk about their experiences with their engagement with Detroit Police, said Tristian Taylor with Detroit Will Breathe.
Detroit protests: 12th night of demonstrations takes place after organizers meet with local officials
DETROIT – On the 12th night of protests in Detroit there was some dissension in the ranks. READ: Detroit protest leaders list 11 demands ahead of meeting with mayor, police chiefEarlier in the day, Tristan Taylor and his co-organizers met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit police Chief James Craig. Joanna Underwood, an activist who has organized other protests around Metro Detroit, accused Taylor of trying to run the agenda for every protester in the state and shutting her and others out of the meeting with city leaders. During the protest, demonstrators heard from veteran Detroit activists who gave emotional speeches. Watch the video above for the full report.
‘Detroit Will Breathe’ meets with Detroit mayor, chief of police to discuss protesters list of demands
DETROIT – Protest organizers met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and police chief James Craig on Tuesday to present them with their list of demands. The protest group has marched in the city for the last 11 days. Tristan Taylor is an organizer of the group “Detroit Will Breathe." They had a closed doors meeting with Duggan and Craig where they shared their list of 24 demands. READ: Detroit protest leaders list 11 demands ahead of meeting with mayor, police chief