Tuesday News Hit: A 16-year-old peacemaker, Whitmer lifts her stay home order, resuming container recycling

Amid another night of violent unrest across the country, the presence of a 16-year-old teenager from Detroit led demonstrators a different direction on Monday. Stefan Perez became a local celebrity and the paradigm for peaceful discourse in the face of bubbling tensions that have led to looting, destruction, and violent flare-ups in cities across the U.S. On Monday, protests in Detroit went on as scheduled before peacefully dispersing shortly after the citywide curfew went into effect for the second day in a row.

"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."

Many of the state's highest-ranking public officials, from the governor and lieutenant governor to the Detroit police chief and the city's mayor have expressed support for the protests, which started four days after George Floyd, a black man and the first name Perez mentioned, died of injuries linked to treatment by a white Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on the victim's neck for nine minutes.

Perez even received a phone call from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who said he had tears in his eyes after watching the teen's leadership. "You are everything that is special about the city of Detroit."

And while Perez reciprocated the appreciation, he did say that Monday's demonstration wouldn't be the last.

"I'm not going to lie to you now. We are going to hold more marches and protests, but I am going to make sure we are safe. That we end up safe. That I get people home."

More than 200 arrests were made over the weekend as peaceful protests during the day turned to violent riots at night. Police Chief James Craig said more than 75% of those taken away weren't residents from the city, which sparked a question about the motivations of those in attendance late at night, as well as led to subsequent curfew orders Duggan called for Sunday and Monday night. 

Even with the triple-digit number, Craig also said he was "very encouraged" by his department's response and the protesters who made their presence known peacefully. 

June's early unrest and large congregations of protesters might have rendered the other big slice of news moot on Monday when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the state's stay home order - a decision based on the encouraging results of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported over the last two weeks. On Monday, the state reached a new low for newly reported cases in almost two-and-a-half months.

Whitmer's relaxing of rules is the largest loosening of statewide restrictions since they were first put in place:

  • Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less can congregate outdoors with social distancing rules in effect
  • On Thursday, June 4, retailers can operate without the need for an appointment
  • On Monday, June 8, restaurants, bars, public swimming pools, day camps, libraries, and museums can reopen
  • Outdoor fitness classes and athletic practices can resume, as long as people involved keep six feet apart

The governor intends to move the entire state into phase 5 of her 6-phase economic reopening plan by July 4, marking the second summer holiday the governor has used as a benchmark for lifting state restrictions.

“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part.”   

Relief from the confines of one's own home isn't the only thing residents can look forward to in the coming days, but relief from overflowing aluminum cans and glass bottles as well. Starting June 15, Michigan retailers can begin accepting returnables for deposits.

Of the grocery stores and supermarkets allowed to start taking them, ones that require no person-to-person contact will be allowed to open first. Deposit refund limits will be set at $25 and the governor encourages the machines to be sanitized periodically.

That $25 limit may prove to be difficult for some people as its likely some residents have a lot of returnables they need to recycle. On May 19, the chief operating officer of Schupan and Sons Recycling told FOX 2 he estimated $50 million worth of containers had accumulated - with the number growing by 70 million containers every week.

Daily Forecast

Temperatures set to reach into the 80's Tuesday afternoon, and possible storms expected tonight and Wednesday morning

Hennepin County Medical Examiner declares George Floyd death homicide

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report released Monday ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide.

The updated report states that on May 25, George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s). Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is now charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection to Floyd's death.

Earlier Monday, the attorneys for the family of George Floyd shared the findings of their separate autopsy, which determined that Floyd died of "asphyxia from sustained pressure" on his neck and back.