By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Protesters took to Greenfield Road and Michigan Avenue Jan. 4 to protest the fatal police shooting of Detroit man Kevin Matthews.
The 35-year-old Matthews was shot multiple times by a Dearborn police officer on Dec. 23 in Detroit after a foot chase and struggle.
Matthews’ family and president of the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network-Michigan President the Rev. Charles Williams led the protest, calling for justice and answers from the Police Department.
Along with the National Action Network, members of Take on Hate and Black Lives Matter were in attendance to support the march.
The protest began at Kroger, 15225 Michigan Ave., where more than 150 supporters held up signs against the shooting and began “no justice, no peace” chants.
Supporters led by Williams and the family marched along Greenfield Road and Michigan Avenue to the police station while being escorted by police.
Michigan State Police also assisted with the march.
Once at the police station, protestors were greeted by a few police officers and a couple of police supporters.
The crowd began to chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go” outside of the police station.
Williams and the Matthews family addressed the crowd once at the station, saying that the group will not stop until they get justice for Matthews and other black victims of police shootings.
“Instead of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s, we were burying the body of a young man,” Williams said. “The violence and killing of young black men and women needs to stop.”
Matthews’ mother, Valarie Johnson, said her son was on his way to her house to visit her when he was killed.
“I just want justice for my son,” she said. “The pain of losing my son will never go away, but I am happy to see the support from the community.”
Matthews’ sister Kimberly Matthews shared her heartbreak over the loss of her brother.
“My brother was a good person,” she said. “He was a harmless person and should still be alive today.”
The protestors also said they will boycott Dearborn businesses along with Fairlane Town Center until justice is served, chanting, “no justice, no dollars.”
Supporters said Matthews had a broken arm from an incident during Thanksgiving and was known in the community to be a schizophrenic.
According to police reports, the Dearborn police officer was patrolling the Tireman Avenue and Greenfield Road area when he spotted Matthews, who was known to be wanted on a Redford Township probation violation warrant. Matthews had escaped from officers earlier in the day after committing a larceny in Dearborn.
After a foot chase and struggle between the two men, the police officer shot Matthews several times about 12:30 p.m. near a house in the 8000 block of Whitcomb in Detroit, police said.
Matthews was pronounced dead at the scene and the officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained during the incident.
The unidentified police officer is a five-year veteran of the Police Department with a clear disciplinary record. He is currently on paid administrative leave.
“Why hasn’t the police officer been identified?” Williams asked during the rally. “We need and deserve answers from the police department.”
An autopsy conducted by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Matthews’ death a homicide.
The Detroit Police Department is still investigating the incident and has not released any new information.
Supporters hope dashboard-camera video footage will show what transpired during the incident.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)