After chaining selves to non-service door at a Detroit Police precinct, protesters speak out about odd court proceeding
DETROIT November 1, 2016 - Young Detroiters involved with the July 20th #FreedomNow National Day of Action, along with the march and rally to remember Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year old girl killed by Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley in 2010, released the following statement as they head to court. Their court appearances are related to the disorderly conduct charges they were given after they chained themselves to a Detroit Police Third Precinct door that was not being used by the department. The statement can be attributed to: Adrienne Ayers, Dakarai Carter, Kezia Curtis, Valencia Vanner, and Paige Watkins.
“On May 16, 2010, Detroit Police officer Joseph Weekley shot and killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a botched drug raid. Six years later, Weekley is still working for the Detroit Police Department, and has even been appointed the chair of the department’s race relations committee. In July, as members of the Detroit chapters of Black Lives Matter & Black Youth Project 100, we organized a march and rally in front of Detroit Police Department’s Third Precinct. The action was to honor the day that would have been Aiyana’s 14th birthday, and was tandem with direct actions all over the country on the same day demanding #FreedomNow.
On that day, we demanded that Joseph Weekley be fired, that the city of Detroit divest from policing and invest in the lives and futures of Black Detroiters through community resources and services that help us, not harm us. We believe that Detroiters should have a voice in the decisions that affect us. We should have a say about our taxes that pay the salary to keep Weekley employed with DPD and about the police department budget of over $300 million dollars. We confronted the police because we wanted them to know that we haven’t forgotten about Aiyana, that we are determined to say her name and hold the city accountable for keeping the officer who killed her on the payroll.
After chaining ourselves to one of the doors of the precinct, six of us were arrested that evening and later released on personal bonds. After months of hearings and pre-trials, four of us now have set trial dates. We are facing misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, and are before different judges, a departure from usual proceedings where groups are tried together. We have raised more than $1,000 to support legal costs, but are now in need of support from community to show up in the court rooms. We will not be bullied by this system in Detroit. We will continue to make it known that Aiyana deserves justice and we will not be silenced while fighting for her.”
Trial Dates scheduled (All will take place at the 36th District Court in Detroit):
V. Vanner - November 2nd, 2016 at 8:30am in courtroom 339
P. Watkins & K. Curtis - November 15th, 2016 at 8:30am in courtroom 336
D. Carter - December 6th, 2016 at 8:30am in courtroom 337
BYP 100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do our work through a Black queer feminist lens.
Black Lives Matter Detroit uplifts the voices and needs of the Black community in the Metro Detroit area. We are a Black-led organization for Black liberation. Our main goal is to create sustainable change for our community.