A Weekend of Protest and Police Graduation in Detroit

In one weekend in Detroit there was a protest and a police graduation.

Eli Newman / WDET

Last Friday protesters filled downtown Detroit to rally against police brutality and inequality toward black people. It was a peaceful protest, and one that Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker says is an example to the nation of a peaceful protest done right.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the killing of five police officers in Dallas, and the shootings of black civilians in Louisiana and Minnesota, a new crop of law enforcement is entering the Detroit Police Department.

“The mood was celebratory,” says Eli Newman, a reporter for WDET who covered the graduation. “But at the same time, there was definitely this [solemn] air.”

Newman says when the graduation ceremony took place it had been fewer than 12 hours since the shootings in Dallas took place. He says the officers in Detroit wore black mourning bands around their arms.

The police on the ground at the protest in downtown Detroit maintained a professional and restrained countenance, says Neavling. He says police officers often faced situations that were fraught with tension and could have escalated, but didn’t because of the officers’ patience.

“Detroit police have been so good about showing restraint that could be a model nationwide,” says Neavling, who adds that protest organizers also calmed the crowd when emotions ran high. “Any time someone seemed to want to get violent, the protest leaders immediately calmed them down.”

To hear more from Newman and Neavling on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.


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