Justice for Black Lives, Grand Rapids police dispute blame for protest clash
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Justice for Black Lives blamed Grand Rapids police for a disturbance that resulted in two arrests during a weekend protest.
Five people sought treatment for injuries resulting from “police attacking protesters,” Kirk Shotts, a Justice for Black Lives director, told MLive / The Grand Rapids Press.
A police sergeant defended officials during a downtown protest on Saturday 25 September against the recent arrest of a black man by the GRPD. Sgt. Dan Adams said a woman was warned with a megaphone that she was violating city noise regulations.
After the police issued her a summons, she continued to use the megaphone. When the police tried to arrest her, others stepped in and allowed her to escape.
“That’s the problem,” Police Sgt. Dan Adams said. “People have actually taken steps to prevent the officers from doing their job.”
But Shotts said the person using the megaphone was exercising their First Amendment rights.
The video showed police making arrests amid shouting, shouting and verbal abuse. A man accused officers of “police brutality” in a video posted on Justice for Black Lives’ Facebook page.
Two were arrested for resisting and resisting the police. Detectives continue to investigate.
Adams said all violent incidents are being investigated by supervisors, the training unit, and internal affairs.
The police check camera recordings worn on the body. There are also videos on social media.
Grand Rapids police on Monday issued a detailed statement on what happened the night of the protest.
“It is important to note that any characterization of this incident as an attack by the GRPD on peaceful demonstrators is wrong,” the statement said.
JBL protesters accused the police of doing just that. They were also upset that police said no injuries had been reported.
“I was very concerned when I heard this,” said Shotts, who is on the Justice for Black Lives public security team. “I was really surprised that they lied so openly and obviously in the testimony. … You have been targeting Justice for Black Lives protesters for some time. “
Schotts said that “what the cops say is not what happened.”
Shotts, who reported having a concussion, said four other were seeking treatment for bruised ribs, sprained wrists and other minor injuries.
Aly Bates, president of the group, told town commissioners on Tuesday, September 28, “My people are bleeding in the street and you are doing nothing.”
Police said no one – including officials and protesters – said they were injured at the scene. The police don’t know if someone would self-medicate if they didn’t file a complaint, the sergeant said.
Adams said police contacted JFBL several times prior to the protest but received no response. He denied any notion that the police were targeting JFBL, which has called for the police to defuse.
He said Chief Eric Payne was ready to meet with critics of the department.
Adams said the department was defending freedom of expression but said the use of amplified sound was against the city’s noise ordinance. He said the protest organizers had been warned repeatedly about the use of a megaphone.
The protest was in response to the September 3 arrest of a McDonald’s employee in the McDonald’s parking lot on 28th Street SE near Woodland Mall.
The black man was suspected of an attempted break-in to a nearby store minutes earlier, but was not charged. However, he was arrested for defying and defying the police and for destroying malicious property of the police.
His arrest was captured on video that went viral. It showed that a large number of police officers were walking towards him at gunpoint. The boss said the man would likely not have been arrested if he had cooperated on the scene.
Some called for the man to be dropped. The police investigation into the attempted break-in continues. The suspect had a backpack that was similar to the one at the break-in, the police said.
A black woman who told city commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday that she was with the protest played audio of the disturbance during her speech. She told them to watch the video.
“(Police) won’t do this to you. They would never do that to you. But that doesn’t mean they won’t do that to us. “
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