Duggan calls protesters discouraging destruction 'a message of Detroit pride'

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig on Tuesday called the demonstrations that took place in the city on Monday largely peaceful.

Duggan said during 10-mile march that took place on Monday no one was attacked, no tear gas was deployed, no one threw a stone. Community leaders confronted people in the group advocating for violence and damage, he said.

"It was strong Detroiters who stood up and over and over and said, we’re not doing that," he said.

The mayor said he saw on the livestreams of the protest someone with a megaphone discouraging tearing down the city and realized it was local activist, Trick Trick.

“It was such a message of Detroit pride," Duggan said.

He also talked about his conversation with 16-year-old Stefan Perez, a young voice who stepped to the forefront of the protest to help lead and end it without violence. Perez was lauded for his leadership in helping clear out protesters as they verged on another clash with Detroit police for violating the emergency curfew. He spoke with Mayor Mike Duggan tonight over the phone after the crowds cleared and it was recorded on video. 

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"Stefan I was watching the video and I saw your leadership, I have tears in my eyes," Duggan said. "You are everything that is special about the city of Detroit."

During the press conference on Tuesday, Duggan said he had no idea the call was recorded.

"He just wants a world where he doesn't have to be afraid when he's stopped by a police officer -- that's what he’s fighting for," the mayor said. "We are watching the next generation of this city’s leaders emerge before our eyes."

Chief Craig echoed his statements.

“We had a peaceful march, no incidents, and for that I'm grateful and I'm also grateful the leadership," he said. He said police showed "patience, without overreaction, and those things really go a long way in fostering trust."

For the past four nights, protesters have flooded the streets of Detroit. Monday night was the most peaceful night yet, highlighted by 16-year-old Stefan Perez. 

Another protest has been planned for Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Demonstrations downtown stayed on message. If you think this is just about the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters will tell you to think again. 

Monday night, the 16-year-old Perez stood up and helped end the protest peacefully when the city curfew went into effect at 8 p.m.

"All we wanted to reconcile for ourselves, the people we lost," Perez said. "George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin. There are so many names. I am just glad I'm not a name too."

Perez was lauded for his leadership in helping clear out protesters as they verged on another clash with Detroit police for violating the emergency curfew.

Gripped by protests throughout the weekend, Detroit Police officers spent nights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday deploying crowd control tactics and arresting well over 200 people during a bubbling period of racial tensions that looks more like 1968 and 2020.

On Friday, Duggan said 65% of people who were arrested were not residents of Detroit. On Saturday, 75% of those arrested also did not live in the city. The out-of-city and out-of-state makeup of the unrests, which tended to become more violent as the night grew later, eventually prompted Duggan and Police Chief James Craig to order a citywide curfew starting at 8 p.m.

Craig and Duggan both believe the vast majority of protesters that turned out over the weekend were there with good intentions. It's why the looting and rioting that some cities have experienced haven't been as severe in Detroit, Duggan said. But for those with more malevolent intentions, top public officials believed the troublemakers were organized and communicating with each other.