DETROIT - Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) sent a letter to law enforcement officials in Michigan urging them not to pursue prosecutions, or dismiss charges, against people protesting against police brutality during the last two weeks.
People across Michigan, and across the country, are mourning the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the seemingly endless list of Black people who have been killed in this country. There is widespread heartbreak and outrage at the systemic racism in America — of which police brutality is only a small facet — that has devalued Black lives for more than four centuries. Simultaneously, Michiganders are grappling with the more than 110,000 people, a disproportionate share of whom are Black, who have died from COVID-19 in this country and an economic crisis that has disproportionately harmed Black communities.
Now is a time for healing, which can begin with a demonstration of law enforcement officials’ commitment both to the freedom of speech and the need to address the systemic injustice these protests have highlighted. The first step, which the ACLU urges law enforcement statewide to take today, is to dismiss charges, or not to pursue prosecutions, in cases arising from the protests of the past two weeks.
This letter was sent to the police chiefs, city attorneys, and prosecutors in Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo.