Protests continue over charges from past Shelby protest incident

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 23, 2021

 Detroit Will Breathe representatives hold a press conference Feb. 1 outside the Shelby Township Police Department to call for charges to be dropped against five people who were arrested during a protest in October. Sammie Lewis, a representative for Detroit Will Breathe, was one of the people who spoke during the press conference.

Detroit Will Breathe representatives hold a press conference Feb. 1 outside the Shelby Township Police Department to call for charges to be dropped against five people who were arrested during a protest in October. Sammie Lewis, a representative for Detroit Will Breathe, was one of the people who spoke during the press conference.

Screenshot from live YouTube event

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A press conference was held in Shelby Township at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 addressing charges that stemmed from a local protest Oct. 24, in which residents from the metro Detroit area came together to protest against the Shelby Township Police Department.

The group Detroit Will Breathe called on the Macomb County prosecutor to drop felony charges against five people who were arrested during the protest in October.

The organization is defending the five protesters arrested during the anti-police brutality demonstration. They were charged with resisting, obstructing and assaulting a police officer. The five protesters were James Deininger, of Sterling Heights; David Mitchell, of Detroit; Jessica Nadeau, of Minnesota; Samantha Phillips, of White Lake; and Tristan Taylor, of Detroit.

The group held the press conference Feb. 1 outside the Shelby Township Police Department.

Sammie Lewis, a representative for Detroit Will Breathe, was one of the people who spoke during the press conference.

“On Monday, Jan. 25, six more additional Black Lives Matter protesters were served with warrants for their participation in the Oct. 24 demonstration in Shelby Township calling for chief of police, Robert Shelide, to be removed or resign because of his violent and outrageous racist remarks against Black Lives Matter protesters on his personal social media page. These protesters who are accused of a series of misdemeanors after the fact are the most recent targets of a retaliatory police department utilizing Jim Crow-style tactics of intimidation in order to silence the actions of BLM’s attempt to force the city of Shelby Township to seriously address the issues of racism in city government,” she said.

Shelby Township police made arrests after the protesters allegedly disobeyed orders to remain on the sidewalk and started blocking traffic. One woman was recorded in the back of a patrol car on a dash camera breaking free of her restraints and taking off her clothing to flash people nearby.

Detroit Will Breathe said it was protesting in Shelby Township after Shelide posted comments about protesters earlier last year. The Shelby Township Board of Trustees suspended Shelide last June for 30 days and ordered him to attend cultural and sensitivity training.

The criminal cases of the original five people charged, a group being called the “Shelby Five,” were adjourned, but their supporters still protested in Mount Clemens to try to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges.

Their cases in 41A District Court in Shelby Township were adjourned after the assistant prosecutor in the case informed defense attorneys that he was providing more video evidence of the protest from police in connection with the case.

Shelide said that defendants in the case were being fingerprinted Feb. 1.

“There were persons that were charged with crimes that appeared at our station to be fingerprinted as ordered by the court. Let me be crystal clear; there was no protest. None of our residents were involved,” said Shelide.

The press conference was held by Detroit Will Breathe and Suburban Solidarity for Social Justice.

Later, the protesters continued with their plan to hold a brief protest rally outside the county Administration Building in Mount Clemens where the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office is located. After the in-person rally, attended by about 30 people, the protesters conducted a vehicular drive-by caravan that looped on the streets around the county courthouse. Vehicles had signs and a protest leader stood through the sunroof of a vehicle and spoke, amplified by a megaphone.

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