Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, near Detroit, was the scene of peaceful protest for two days in a row following an excessive force incident. Residents are furious after a police officer punched a black woman repeatedly in the face. For now, this incident seems to be totally unrelated to the riot which broke out Tuesday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Protest of two similar incidents in two states
Excessive force incidents by the police involving black victims in two states have America wondering if they are somehow related. Separate but similar protest gatherings followed in both states. These situations are calling into question whether we can trust our public servants.
On Monday, George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis and the whole episode was filmed before a live audience, which led to a seemingly pre-planned riot Tuesday night.
The Minnesota circumstances are so bizarre it seems carefully orchestrated to start a race war. Both stories are still developing and may end up being connected after all but what happened near Detroit isn’t so clearly black and white. For now, it’s a big smudge of gray.
A matching inconsistency
The Michigan victim wasn’t simply minding her own business but there was no reason to punch her in the face either. That is one inconsistency which matches both cases. An officer acted totally against his training.
On Tuesday afternoon, a whole herd of deputies converged on the 2000 block of Peachcrest Street in Ypsilanti Township after reports of “shots fired.” At the scene, they discovered “a 34-year-old female gunshot victim that required medical attention.” She was in stable condition.
As officers hunted for her shooter, “deputies formed a perimeter to keep community members away.” One couple refused to cooperate, Daniel Grady El and his wife Shatina Grady El. A neighbor reports they “were asking officers why they were in the neighborhood.” According to Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton, his deputies called it “obstructing” their duties to establish a perimeter.
There was no reason for one of the deputies to start “punching” Mrs. Grady El “in the head,” while “another deputy deployed a taser on her husband.” All caught on tape. Sheriff Clayton admits the incident is “disturbing.” Were these officers paid or blackmailed into intentionally provoking the black community? That’s something they are wondering about in Minnesota too.
The activists are on the job
It didn’t take long for protest organizers to get the ball rolling Tuesday, only an hour or so after the incident. Around three dozen demonstrators soon besieged the sheriff’s department, chanting “no justice, no peace.”
“We cannot continue to allow this,” said Trische’ Duckworth, a progressive organizer with the nonprofit Survivors Speak. She’s absolutely right but just a little too “Johnnie on the spot.” That’s another thing in common with the Minnesota riot, they had a full supply of “Black Lives Matter” signs on hand and ready for action.
The protesters showed up at the Washtenaw County Jail on Wednesday afternoon to continue their demonstration. Sheriff Clayton agrees that the citizens have a right to be concerned and he’s concerned too. He wants to get to the bottom of what happened. The deputies actions are “under investigation.” No charges have been made against the couple at this time. Prosecutors insist that before they can say a word, they need to see what the body cameras worn by the involved officers show.