DEARBORN, Mich. (FOX 2) - About 30 people met outside Dearborn’s Administrative Center calling for police accountability Tuesday, exactly one year after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"Nothing has changed, the council has not put into place any policies that would reduce the harm that has happened - and continues to happen to Black people," said Alexandra Hughes. "And I feel especially today it is important to make sure they understand how crucial, how important it is, to put those policies in place."
Hughes, of Accountability for Dearborn, organized the rally outside the city's headquarters. She and others are calling on city council to, among other things, form a civilian police oversight commission and to change its use of force policies.
"In a city that’s constantly used as an example for the extreme racism and over-policing of Black people, one would expect that this would be the year the eyes of city leadership would be opened," said resident Erin Snapp in public comment during the council meeting.
African-Americans make up about four percent of Dearborn’s population, but more than half of the police department’s arrests.
In 2019 African-Americans comprised nearly half of those ticketed by Dearborn police.
Edwards Barakah Sanders says if council does not implement police reform policies, he has no problem telling people to resist unlawful arrests.
"We are demanding you do the (expletive) job you were elected to do," said Sanders. "If you don't we are going to take solutions to both young and older African-Americans. You have a right to self-defense."
Neither Dearborn’s mayor nor police chief would comment on the issues raised at the rally, but Councilwoman Erin Byrnes weighed in.
"One thing I am hoping to achieve is to allocate funding for mental health resources and unarmed response," she said. "I think that is critically important, so that is something I am working on.
"We are actually working on putting together a diversity, equity and inclusion commission."
Activist Edwards Barakah Sanders leads a chant at the protest outside the Dearborn administrative building.
FOX 2: "Is there any movement on a civilian police oversight committee and changing use of force policies?"
"So, we don't have an oversight committee or commission in the works at this point in time," she said. "I think it is a possibility in the future and we will have to see with a new administration coming in."
"To be frank I don’t think it’s a surprise," said Alejandro Carrillo, Dearborn resident. "They say these things over and over to try to assuage us. They say these things over and over and this is what we get. We’re not getting what the demands are. We need actual action so that we can make Black people feel safe here in Dearborn."