Heard on All Things Considered

Shelby Township Police Chief Suspended For 30 Days, But Keeps Job, After Controversial Tweets

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The police chief used a pseudonymous Twitter account to encourage police brutality against Black Lives Matter protestors.

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Shelby Township’s Board of Trustees has decided to keep its police chief after he used a pseudonym on Twitter to make comments supporting police brutality.  

Chief Robert Shelide called on President Donald Trump to “unleash real cops” instead of the military to “take care of” Black Lives Matter protestors. By referring to protestors as “savages” and “barbarians,” he was accused of using language that was considered a racist dog whistle.  

I completely understand that the heat has been put on our community.” — Chief Robert Shelide

At the video-conference Board of Trustees meeting last night, Shelide defended his actions.

I completely understand that the heat has been put on our community,” Shelide said. ”I don’t deserve to lose my job over this. People deserve a second chance. My words were hurtful to some, but other people understood what I meant.”

He apologized for offending some people but then blamed others for the controversy.

It’s literally impossible for me to be the things I’m being called in the media and by the keyboard warriors on social media without having a track record of this behavior,” Shelide said. “I’m being crucified unjustly.” 

While 2 members of the board advocated for his ouster, Shelby Township residents and the Board of Trustees were largely on his side. Shelide was suspended for 30 days.  

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. While working as an audio engineer for ABC Sports, he was sprayed with champagne as the Detroit Pistons celebrated their championship in 2004.

russmcnamara@wdet.org

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