Detroit Today: Why police violence persists and how to stop it

An attorney general and mental health professional explain how police violence continues to arise in Detroit communities.

Photo of a Detroit Police vehicle.

Law enforcement stepping outside the boundaries of their intended role has been a theme in the Detroit area for a long time — whether it was during the summer 1967, the STRESS units terrorizing residents during the 1990s or more recent incidents of police brutality.

According to the NAACP, African Americans are five times more likely to be stopped by law enforcement than a white individual. Over 360 people of all different backgrounds have already died this year in the U.S. after being shot by an officer. 

At the height of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, nine of 10 Americans said racism and police brutality were problems in our country. 

Listen: How police violence operates and the toll it takes on American civilians.


Keith Ellison is Minnesota’s Attorney General and the author of “Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence.” He says police violence affects people in many different ways. 

“We have this cycle [of police violence],” says Ellison. “It is longstanding, it is nationwide, it is expensive in life…and we need to fix it. 

Trish Cortes is the executive director of Washtenaw County Community Mental Health. She says the consistent, targeted care of mental health first responders helps to de-escalate situations and alleviate crises. 

“Being able to do the crisis response plus stabilization has been a real game changer for us,” says Cortes. “We can not only address the crisis in that moment but also provide some follow up.”

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