Drop the Charges Against The Shelby 5! And All Shelby Protesters for Racial Justice!

Michigan elected office holders

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Anna Van Schaap

A racist Chief of police and a rightwing prosecutor are pursuing felony and misdemeanor charges against racial justice protesters for stepping foot in the street during a nonviolent march in Shelby Twp, MI. Demand that all charges be dropped now!

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To: Michigan elected office holders
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Drop the Charges Against The Shelby 5! And All Shelby Protesters for Racial Justice!

On October 24, 2020 over 100 protesters gathered to demand the firing of Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide for violently racist comments he made on social media. Shelide posted on his personal social media page that BLM protesters are “vicious subhumans” who deserved to be in “body bags”. For these outrageous comments the Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted to only suspend him for one month without pay.

Anyone who is capable of saying such things has no business being a leader of anything, let alone a police department. No doubt these implicit biases contributed to the fact that the Shelby Township PD recently failed to investigate a police murder of an unarmed Sikh man in 2018. That’s why Detroit Will Breathe and other groups joined Shelby Township-based social justice organization, SHIFT, in a march to call for Shelide’s removal.

In a display of force reminiscent of the days of the Jim Crow South, Shelby Township police, dressed in riot gear and with the assistance of Macomb County Sheriffs and at least three other local police departments, violently forced peaceful protesters out of the street in an effort to stop their right to march against these injustices. They attacked the entire group, arrested 10-11 protesters, and ticketed people in support vehicles. In keeping with their racist practice and ideologies steeped in the tradition of Jim Crow, Shelby Township police have brought felony charges against 5 of those arrested, and misdemeanors against 11 others currently, for the simple and non-violent act of marching in the streets. It is clear that Shelby Township wants to continue with the racist message of their Chief of Police and use these trumped up felony charges and misdemeanors to send a message that the movement for Black and Brown lives is not welcomed in Shelby Township.

In addition to charges levied on the day of the march, many months later, the newly elected Macomb County prosecutor Peter Lucido chose to bring further misdemeanor charges against non-violent protesters who were there on Oct. 24th. These are charges that Jean Cloud (the previous prosecutor) saw as unfounded and refused to support. Lucido, an avid Trump supporter, brought these charges in the wake of the Jan 6th storming of the Capitol, in which Shelby Township locals are known to have participated. .

Therefore, we the undersigned demand that all charges against racial justice protesters be dropped.

We also demand that Shelide be removed or resign from his post as Chief of Police of Shelby Township.