We continue our series with from “D”, a protestor. He moves us forward through his story of three nights of demonstrating.
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“As our group was protesting and demonstrating at the port authority building, the DPD donned gas masks and riot gear, and declared our protest and unlawful assembly when the streetlights came on. We did not back up. We held our ground. And then they started to march forward and throw gas canisters.
The group started running, dispersing … to which the cops started running and beating us with billy clubs. And I cannot express in words how this made me feel. The closest I can get to is very angry.
They’re hitting men and women, and even at some points pregnant women, for no reason. We were not being violent. We were simply running away. They chased faster.
And then some of the group, we had started yelling “stop running, stop running, don’t let them know we’re scared“!
To which then we did stop at Atwater street. We tried to force the police back. It was not a good idea because they in turn beat us harder, threw more gas, and maced indiscriminately.
It was an hour’s ordeal of them pushing us back, and us pushing them back. Which ultimately, we were being pushed over Jefferson, on Randolph. Our group, out of shock, we were nonviolent. We got on our knees and shouted, “Hands up, don’t shoot” over, and over, again.
Officers were smiling and laughing. (sighs) And then, antagonizers decided to start throwing, throwing bottles, throwing glass bottles filled with urine. Which antagonized the police. They started charging faster, with more force. There was no push-back though. They did, unfortunately, push us all the way back to Detroit city hall. Which, the entire group, was in the intersection facing off with police in riot gear.
I witnessed them pepper spray, and shoot, and beat with a billy club Detroit Free Press, any press they could get. They were targeting press. And I-I don’t understand why. I mean I do understand, but, its wrong.
Um, as we were at Larned and Randolph, they started to throw more gas. And in all of the confusion and chaos, we heard shots fired. Everybody hit the ground til we could find out where the shots were fired, and unfortunately a 20 year old man, a 21 year old man from Eastpointe was shot and killed in his car. Not by our protestors, not by a cop. Somebody in just a gray Durango and shot him up.
I ran over to find out what was happening, only to see this man laying unconscious in his car blood everywhere. And a woman at our protest, who was a nurse and had a medic kit, ran up to the car screaming “I’m a nurse, I’m a nurse. let me help”!
The cops pushed her away very violently, just standing there as this man was dying, did nothing. They waited for the EMTs when they could have let this nurse perform some basic field care.
After I saw her being pushed, I noticed a fire, in a parking lot, too. And then I ran over to try and put the fire out with a couple of other men. We were unsuccessful, because a DPD officer came and shoved all of us. We were screaming, “We’re trying to help you, we’re trying to help you. We don’t want the city to burn”!
They did not care. They just pushed us away. Then shortly after that I was hit with a baton. I was hit in the ribs multiple times and had to retreat to rest for a minute.
Some other demonstators came and lifted me up and we walked back to the intersection to go and demonstrate some more.
Then one of the girls I came with was hit in the back with a tear gas canister, and it burned her.
The story isn’t over yet. Stick with us. There’s a lot more to come. We picked up the tear gas canisters and threw them back because we noticed a third of DPD did not have gas masks and we used it to our advantage.This article has been updated to add a transcript of the video.