Detroit Police Chief Ignores Curfew To Let Protesters March On

Earlier protests brought railroad spikes thrown at officers

WWJ News
June 04, 2020 - 8:41 am

(WWJ) What a difference a night can make ... After Tuesday's clash between protesters and police resulted in more than 100 arrests, police decided Wednesday not to uphold the curfew so protesters could march down Lafayette Avenue toward Belle Isle and back downtown without incident.

Police Chief James Craig even spoke to protesters about not enforcing the curfew.

"At first, I was struggling with it (the curfew) because I understand there's unrest in Detroit, but at the same time you've got to be very careful when you start taking people's rights to freedom of speech," one protester from Detroit 300 told WWJ's Vickie Thomas. "It creates more of an adversarial relationship and so I'm glad to see that they're not enforcing it because I was going to start raising concerns."

For his part, Craig got out of a squad car among protesters on East Jefferson at McDougall at about 8:30 p.m. -- a half-hour after curfew -- and said, "You know, curfews are discretionary." Marchers cheered wildly and kept moving.

Craig told reporters at the scene he understands the pain they're expressing. "They want their voices heard. So, we're making a decision" to let the march continue until "an appropriate point." 

Another march is expected tonight in Detroit and in cities across the country to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.  

"Being charged is one step, now we need a conviction," said one protester about the situation in Minneapolis, where all four cops at the scene of Floyd's death were charged Wednesday, either with aiding murder -- or in the case of Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's death for more than eight minutes, with second-degree murder and manslaughter. 

One protester in Detroit said, "They should have been charged a long time ago."

Another protester told Thomas, "we're tired of watching murder on film," adding that for some people getting pulled over by police means a possible ticket, but for others it means "wondering if we're ever going to go home."