On Saturday, organizers in Warren, Mich., put together what was supposed to be a simple protest on behalf of a Black family that had been the victim of a string of racially motivated attacks, but instead, the event ended up turning into a tense standoff between anti-racism protesters and “Back the Blue” Trump supporters who held their own rally across the street.
The Detroit News reports that activist groups Detroit Will Breathe and the South Warren Alliance for Radical Movement organized a protest for the Hall family. Candace and Eddie Hall, along with their two children, have been the targets of multiple racist attacks that reportedly occurred on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and are being investigated by Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer and his detectives.
From Detroit News:
Police say they recovered six 9 mm shell casings from the Halls’ home from a shooting Thursday about 11:30 p.m. Police also have grainy video of a man slinking around the side of the Halls’ house.
Detectives said the suspect was about 5' 8", between 20-25. He appeared to be muscular, but police said they couldn’t determine his race. Because he fled on foot after each incident, Dwyer said police believe he lives in the neighborhood.
“We’ll get him,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when.”
Dwyer said police are offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. He added his detectives have alerted the FBI about the incidents, and that he plans to seek federal charges against the man once he’s arrested.
“Somebody knows who did this,” Dwyer said. “(Tipsters) can remain anonymous. This has got to stop immediately.”
The Halls have a Black Lives Matter sign displayed in their window, which Candace Hall said she believed is why her family was targeted — but, she vowed, “we’re not taking it down.”
Thursday’s shooting followed other reported incidents targeting the Halls on Wednesday and Monday, Dwyer said.
On Wednesday, about 10:30 p.m., someone slashed the tires on the Halls’ car, and used a marker to draw a swastika on the vehicle, along with the inscriptions “terrorist Black Lives Matter,” “not welcome,” and “get the f—- out,” Dwyer said.
Someone fired shots at the home Monday about 10:30 p.m., although the Halls said at first they thought it was fireworks.
Statement about today’s march in Warren. pic.twitter.com/DMJH80Rf8S— DETROITWILLBREATHE (@DETWILLBREATHE) September 19, 2020
Unfortunately, the demonstration meant as a call for justice for this family was interrupted by a group across the street who were holding “Trump 2020" signs in an apparent “Back the Blue” protest. Predictably, It wasn’t long before the two groups came into conflict.
Trump supporters are blowing sirens while BLM supports are chanting. pic.twitter.com/hBIyY1aqhx— Ariana T. Taylor (@arianattaylor) September 19, 2020
“What does Trump have to do with this... because of what happened to us, why are you here doing that? If anything we should be supporting each other,” Eddie Hall said during the clash between protesters, the News reports.
The protests on behalf of the Halls was actually a planned march through main roads and residential streets in Warren. The standoff with Trump supporters who suspiciously and conveniently were holding their own thing across the street from the starting point of the march was bad enough, but tensions continued when the marching began and drivers argued with protesters to get out of the streets despite the march having a police escort from state police and Warren police.
More from the News:
Residents came out of their homes as protesters walked by to continuously chant “Trump,” to yell for demonstrators to get of their grass and to tell people to take off their masks.
“It’s been uncomfortable and a little bit unsettling and kind of tense. We feel some type of way about what happened and knowing that racism is that close to home where I live is a little bit uncomfortable,” said Duane Daniels, a 22-year-old Warren resident.
Protesters marched for over two hours and ended with organizers calling for a public hearing in Warren.
Eventually, the Trump supporters stopped following the march.
“We need Mayor Fouts and all the city officials in Warren to take responsibility for the perpetrating, racist policies that are created... there has to be a spectacular amount of racism that you have to have in your body to try and demonstrate against a rally defending a Black family whose house got shot up,” Tristan Taylor, a Detroit Will Breathe organizer, said as the march came to an end.
The Detroit Will Breathe protest has started marching. Trump supporters did not follow. There are people on the sidewalks screaming for people to take their masks off. pic.twitter.com/ke6GwFigVh— Ariana T. Taylor (@arianattaylor) September 19, 2020
Around 250 people attended the march for the Halls. Despite tensions with conservative protesters, the event ended without any major incidents or arrests.