Grand Rapids police defend arrests during Justice for Black Lives protest

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids police officers say their officers acted appropriately on Saturday, September 25, after Justice for Black Lives protesters repeatedly violated city ordinances.

The police statement comes after protesters on social media claimed they were attacked by police in an otherwise peaceful protest. Police counter that protesters violated city ordinances, including using a megaphone.

“It is important to note that any characterization of this incident as an attack by the GRPD on peaceful protesters is wrong,” Grand Rapids police said in a statement.

Police said neither officers nor demonstrators were injured. Justice for Black Lives alleged that several participants were injured.

Justice for Black Lives protested the recent arrest of a man in the McDonald’s parking lot on 28th Street near Woodland Mall after a break-in was reported nearby.

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“After hours of peaceful protests and our voice in our city where we put money, we were confronted with senseless violence by the GRPD. They threw us to the ground, beat us, and beat us with their bikes. They tried to break us, ”the organization shared on Facebook.

The group said Grand Rapids police “continue to brutalize black and brown parishioners”.

The arrest near McDonald’s that led to the protest was videotaped. It emerged that several officers arrested the man at gunpoint.

The police had determined that his backpack matched a backpack that had been discovered minutes earlier at the site of a break-in.

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The man’s supporters said he worked at McDonald’s and had just stopped to pick up his paycheck. Critics complained about “excessive use of force and the use of large numbers of officials”.

The 22-year-old suspect was not arrested in the break-in but was arrested for attempted resistance and obstruction by police and malicious destruction of police property after ramming his head into a patrol car, police said.

In a statement released on Monday, September 27, Grand Rapids police said officials had acted appropriately during Saturday’s protest after protesters repeatedly violated city ordinances.

City officials became aware of the planned protest a few weeks ago through a Facebook post from Justice for Black Lives, police said in the statement. The Office of Special Events emailed Justice for Black Lives to say the area was already booked for ArtPrize – an eligible event – and offered other websites, the statement said.

No one replied to the email, the police said.

The Office of Special Events attempted to contact the organization on September 20 and 24 to say that “the room was not available and that other activities for that time and location had already been planned and approved. Despite these repeated attempts, JFBL could not be contacted, ”the police said in a statement.

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Protesters showed up at Monroe Center NW near Monroe Avenue on Saturday. A police officer spoke to group leaders. The captain said the group could “protest, sing, gather and move around the area – but obstruct the right of way, disrupt or interfere with any permitted events or use amplified sound (loudspeaker, megaphone, etc.”) without authorization Violation of the city ordinances, “said the police report.

According to police, the group used a megaphone.

The protesters marched down the Monroe Center to Police Headquarters before returning to Monroe and then back to the Monroe Center.

“They were approached twice by an officer who issued a warning and reiterated that they were violating the regulation,” the statement said.

“The third time they started using the megaphone, an officer quoted the person using the megaphone. Undeterred, the same person decided to use the megaphone again and – since it was a follow-up offense after a charge – the officers tried to take the woman into custody. “

Police said other police officers blocked the police when they tried to arrest the woman. The police arrested two of them while the woman escaped. The arrests were made for resisting and obstructing a police officer, the statement said.

“The city of Grand Rapids has the legal authority to impose reasonable time, location and legal restrictions on events, including demonstrations of free speech,” the statement said.

The detectives are looking for other possible charges. The incident is being reviewed by supervisors and internal affairs, which is standard for encounters with the use of force, the police said.

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