Police, country club racism in Dearborn MI

Date: Sat, 28 Dec 1996 20:22:49 -0800
From: mnovick@laedu.lalc.k12.ca.us (michael novick)
Subject: NAACP protests police, guard, country club racism in Dearborn MI

Marchers renew racism charges 

Nearly 200 protesters rally in Dearborn 

December 27, 1996

Free Press Staff Writer

[Note: the Free Press is one of the Detroit scab papers, but I 
don't think scanning their web site constitutes patronage --MN]

Bundled in coats, carrying signs and chanting, nearly 200 black people marched along Telegraph Road near the entrance to the city-owned Dearborn Hills Golf Course on Thursday to protest alleged racism.

During the hour-long march in snow and freezing temperatures, the Rev. Wendell Anthony, Detroit NAACP president, repeated recent allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment of four employees at the course, selective ticketing of black motorists in Dearborn and mistreatment of black shoppers at Fairlane Town Center.

Despite news reports that Anthony's group had urged people to stay away from Dearborn, Anthony on Thursday said his group had not called for a boycott. "That's media hype," he said, speaking for the newly formed Detroit Coalition for Justice and Fairness, made up of Detroit's NAACP, the Council of Baptist Pastors, New Detroit Inc. and other groups.

Unsatisfied with police numbers showing that blacks received 27.4 percent of traffic tickets issued in Dearborn from January through November, Anthony also called for an independent review of the tickets. He said people who monitor some court proceedings say the number is closer to 90 percent. Of the 90,000 people who live in Dearborn, about 500 are black.

"He's more than welcome to send someone in to review our records; they're open to everyone," Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Deziel said. "But this is all very unproductive. What's it going to prove if an independent reviewer says our numbers are correct, which they would be? Is Mr. Anthony going to admit he was wrong? I don't think so."

Chanting "we are African people; we are at war," marchers entered the golf course parking lot around 12:40 p.m., circled past the clubhouse, then marched back to the roadside. The course and clubhouse were closed for the season, but the city opened the gates in anticipation of the march, "because we didn't want to make it seem we were locking them out," Deziel said.

Carrying signs that read "spend your $$$ where they respect you" and "Dearborn Hills is racism," the protesters talked of equal rights.

"I'm here because I want justice, where everybody can get along and live together," said Shirley Smith of Detroit, whose 16-year-old son was arrested at Fairlane Town Center this month. She said he was falsely accused of attempting to rob an undercover police officer.

"All they mess with is blacks," she said, referring to Dearborn police and Fairlane Town Center security.

Fairlane managers have said black people are not singled out.

"There's really nothing new from our end," Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido said Thursday, pointing out that the city has found no proof of wrongdoing but that if proof is found, he will levy the severest of punishment.

"We gave our best effort in responding," he said, referring to a six-page letter sent to Anthony last week rebuffing most of the group's claims. copyright 1996 Detroit Free Press and may not be republished without permission.

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