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Detour is the email newsletter for the Detroit community. We're an independent media startup reporting on stories that matter and making it easier to follow the issues.

Some context, some historical background, always makes us feel grounded. So we're digging a little deeper today, with a couple stories about moments long before protesters poured into the streets. Writers Courtney Wise Randolph and Jamon Jordan are taking it back to 1992... and 1833, the year of the first curfew in Michigan, to pull out some roots of an unjust system. --Detour Team


DETROIT IN FIVE 

What do we want? Justice: Hundreds of protesters rallied and marched for more than six hours Wednesday as Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters after 8 p.m. that the night’s curfew wouldn’t be enforced, saying he supports the “peaceful protest.” Protesters called it a victory march as they trekked back downtown to the starting spot. Organizer Nakia-Renne Wallace: “This is what it looks like when you refuse to be intimidated, come to the streets, and stand next to your brothers and sisters.” The chants of “no justice, no peace, fuck these racist-ass police” continued during the return march down Lafayette. Other protesters gathered outside the Manoogian Mansion, the mayor’s official residence. No arrests were initially reported. (WXYZ, livestream)

Earlier: The Detroit Police Department arrested 127 on the fifth night of protests Tuesday evening; 47 of those were Detroit residents with the remainder from the suburbs and six from out of state. Police didn’t fire tear gas or rubber bullets, but quickly and aggressively arrested protesters, briefly detaining Free Press reporter Darcie Moran. Metro Times reporter Steve Neavling said on Twitter he was
punched, kneed and elbowed." Craig described an incident in which one officer was pulled into the crowd and subsequently deployed tear gas to free himself. Some protesters were detained in Little Caesars Arena Tuesday night for processing before being bused to the Detroit Detention Center. Over five nights of protest, 381 have been arrested. (Fox 2 Detroit, Deadline Detroit, press conference)

Charges reduced: Protest organizer Tristan Taylor was arrested Tuesday evening and detained overnight in custody. He was released Wednesday and given a misdemeanor charge of violating curfew after initially being charged with inciting a riot, a felony. DPD decided to reduce the charge because there were no deaths or significant injuries associated with his role in the protest, Craig said. The Detroit Free Press' Mark Kurlyandchik caught up with Taylor before Tuesday evening's protests. The whole interview is worth a read, but here's a snippet: "I’ve seen a community united in a way that we haven’t seen, especially for a place like Michigan, which is a hyper-segregated place… We’ve also seen the grossest conduct of DPD. Bullies with shields — that’s what they’ve been." (Detroit Free Press)

What comes after: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for police reforms, rolling out a package of bills that would enact “duty to intervene” policies, anti-bias training and use of force reporting, among other reforms. (Bridge)

Ready to pop: Redford-based Detroit Popcorn company changed ownership after owner Evan Singer (under the name Evan Sangria) allegedly suggested on Facebook that protesters need “knee’s on there (sic) necks." Backlash and a boycott ensued, and the company shut down temporarily as former owner David Farber came out of retirement to buy the company back, saying he will sell to Black investors. (Eater Detroit)

COVID Count: Detroit reported a total of 11,119 deaths due to Covid-19 on Wednesday and 1,384 deaths, and the state of Michigan reported 58,035 cases and 5,570 deaths. Infection rates continue to slow; just 17 new cases were reported Monday and 20 on Tuesday in Detroit; statewide, fewer than 200 cases have been reported since May 29. (City of Detroit, State of Michigan)

Congress grills Whitmer over nursing home deaths: Republican lawmakers challenged the governor during her testimony Tuesday before a U.S. House subcommittee about Michigan's pandemic response. They questioned her about data showing the state was fifth-highest in the nation in terms of per-capita nursing home deaths and criticized her for being slow to ask for a federal disaster declaration. Whitmer responded by saying there were "probably a number of decisions we would have made some adjustment on" and "we were working with the best counsel of our public health experts." (Freep)

Al fresco dining: Once upon a time it took nearly a year to close a street and 60 days to get a sidewalk permit. In deference to the lower risk to outdoor dining and new capacity limits for restaurants, Detroit City Council passed a unanimous resolution to speed outdoor dining permitting to a 24-hour turnaround. The city plans to release info about the new process today on detroitmeansbusiness.org. Also in dining under a new normal: legislation to allow cocktails-to-go and outdoor dining districts is under consideration in the state House, with unanimous approval in the first committee review. (Press conference, MLive)

Get your dimes back: Starting June 15, Michiganders can once again trade in bottles and cans to get their ten-cent deposit. (MLive)

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OFF THE WALL 

A mural that's a reminder to 'fight for our freedoms'
Courtney Wise Randolph

Credit: Lamar Landers

Sydney G. James’ art is a call to action: to see Blackness — especially Black women; to remember that Black people too are free; and to know that Black lives are complex, resplendent and worthy.

She talked to Detour about a mural she's planning that will feature Malice Green, beaten to death by Detroit police in 1992. But don't call it a memorial. 

"I don’t do tribute murals; I don’t do memorial murals. That’s not a practice that I do for a multitude of reasons. But once George Floyd was murdered, an article about the Malice Green case came up. It made mention of the original mural by Bennie White, Jr., that I had no idea had been destroyed. I always took comfort knowing that it was there. It was important that it was there because it was a reminder of a time when we got justice. So, I’m painting Malice Green because he became a symbol and we need that symbol. He’ll be painted like a monument, holding a scroll flying off into the wind. The scroll will contain all of the names of Black people lynched by police since 1979, the year I was born. I’m making it personal to me, but I’m also making it personal to us. We need an ever-present reminder that we do not accept this shit at all. And we’re tired, but we ain’t weak."

Read the rest of the story

OFF THE WALL 

The oppressive history of curfews in Detroit, nearly 200 years in the making 

By Jamon Jordan
After two nights of anti-police brutality protests in downtown Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan on Sunday announced a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Officers have used the curfew — which makes an exception for going to work, dealing with an emergency or patronizing a business — to force protesters, rallying in outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, to disperse as daily rallies continue. On Tuesday, police ended the demonstration by arresting the most protesters so far, 127, almost all for violating the curfew.

While protesters and spectators have decried police violence during protests, Duggan and Police Chief James Craig have instead blamed the violence on a small group of outside agitators who they say have planned attacks using the cover of darkness, making the curfew necessary. On Wednesday, Craig said he would not enforce the curfew that night in support of the peaceful protests. (Other cities in Michigan and other states have also enacted curfews.)

There’s ongoing debate about whether the protests should be nonviolent or a more militant uprising against police brutality and other forms of racism. There are also arguments over whether and how suburbanites and non-Detroiters should participate in the city’s protests. But all of us in Detroit have been under curfew. And we are not the first Detroiters to be so. Over nearly 200 years, local officials have routinely instated curfews — often to limit the freedoms of Black Detroiters and quell activist movements. 

In 2012, City Council began issuing curfews for minors the night of the Fourth of July fireworks (usually held in June), applying to the whole city and with no exceptions for First Amendment-protected activities. In 2015, police proposed extending the curfew for several days, prompting grassroots organizations and the ACLU of Michigan to challenge the rules, and that year’s ordinance was less restrictive than in past summers

A few decades earlier, officials issued curfews each October. For years, “Devil’s Night” – the night before Halloween — came with scores of fires as arsonists destroyed Detroit homes, businesses and vacant buildings. In the mid-1980s, curfews were used as an attempt to address the problem, and in 1995, the city government announced “Angel’s Night,” with a three-day curfew from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, volunteer patrols and increased police presence aimed at curbing arson. It has been largely successful. 

Go back another generation, and maybe you remember the 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. curfew set by then-Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh on July 23, 1967, the beginning of the Detroit 1967 Rebellion. Governor George Romney also declared a curfew. And numerous cities throughout the state declared curfews, even though there had been no unrest there.

Birmingham had a curfew.
Dearborn had a curfew.
Livonia had a curfew.
All of the Grosse Pointes had curfews.
Flint had a curfew.
Royal Oak had a curfew.
Grand Rapids had a curfew.

In some of those suburbs, like Dearborn and Grosse Pointe, police officers stood guard at their city’s border with Detroit, to deal with any suspected Detroit rioter who crossed into the suburb.

At that time, the National Guard, the Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department were enforcing the curfew, often with deadly responses to curfew violators.

Jump back another couple decades. You’re probably not old enough to remember the three-day race riot in Detroit during June of 1943. Mayor Edward Jeffries and Michigan Gov. Harry Kelly enacted a 9 p.m. curfew, enforced with support from federal troops sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although white curfew violators were largely ignored by the Detroit police, white officers arrested African Americans in front of their homes for violating curfew, and even shot African Americans for violating curfew. 

But the very first curfew in Detroit — the very first curfew in the state’s history — was after the 1833 uprising to free Thornton Blackburn from slavery.
Keep reading here

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Newsletter written by Nina Misuraca Ignaczak with Kate Abbey-Lambertz

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