belle isle at night

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State Police: Female Park Ranger Assaulted Outside Restroom On Belle Isle

July 09, 2018 - 12:45 pm
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DETROIT (WWJ) - A female park ranger was assaulted on Belle Isle after she was approached by a man while locking up the restrooms over the weekend.

The ranger told police that the suspect tried to go around her into the bathroom; and when she asked him to leave, the man pushed her and told her she was "white privileged."

Michigan State Police Firs Lt. Mike Shaw said the incident happened at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, while the island was still crowded. 

"We took the initial report on that and then spoke with the park ranger out there," Shaw told WWJ Newsradio 950. "She's fine -- a little shaken up -- but no substantial injuries."

The suspect is described as a thin black man, about 6 foot 2 inches tall, wearing a short-sleeved shirt with black shorts. While police continue to work to identify him, they're asking for tips from the public.

"If anyone's been out on Belle Isle the last couple of weeks it's been pretty packed out there," Shaw said. "So we're kind of hoping somebody maybe saw something or knew who this individual was."

Under a 30-year lease agreement approved  in 2013, the city of Detroit still owns Belle Isle while the Michigan DNR has taken over management of the park.

Michigan's 320 state park rangers have been pushing for the right to protect themselves with guns and bulletproof vests. Currently, they are only equipped with pepper spray, batons and handcuffs. The union representing parks officers recently filed a complaint with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).