Police shooting protesters locked out of council meeting

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The group New Era Detroit rallied Jan. 12 outside the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. for justice for a Detroit man killed by Dearborn police.

Protesters attempted to enter the DAC for the city’s council meeting but were locked out, according to a Facebook post by New Era Detroit member identified as “Zeek Ned.”

“The city council was tipped that we were coming and locked the doors to what was supposed to be a open community meeting to the public,” the post read.

The group posted that it gave the city 48 hours from Jan. 12 to fire the police officer who shot and killed Kevin Matthews “or else.”

“We returned to Dearborn at the city council office with the same demand, this time under one condition, 48 hours,” read the Facebook post.

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.

Along with the Facebook post, was a video showed the rally outside the DAC where the group chanted “all power to the people” and knocked on the locked DAC doors. To view the video, go to www.facebook.com/100010685831557/videos/165963857103141/?fref=nf.

“You will be seeing a lot of Detroit residents in your city until this issue is resolved,” Ned said as police arrived. “We are not going away.”

After the city council meeting ended, Police Chief Ronald Haddad assisted those in attendance exit the DAC without incident.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and the city Legal Department declined to comment on the incident, and referred all questions to the city Public Information Department; Director Mary Laundroche did not comment by press time.

The initial incident occurred on Dec. 23 when Matthews, 35, was shot multiple times and killed by a Dearborn police officer.

According to reports, the 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 Dearborn police officer shot Matthews near a house in the 8000 block of Whitcomb in Detroit about 12:30 p.m., 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.

An autopsy conducted by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Matthews’ death a homicide.

The Detroit Police Department responded to the location and are conducting the investigation.

Family members said Matthews had suffered a broken arm from an incident during Thanksgiving and was known to be a schizophrenic.

Matthews’ mother, Valarie Johnson, said her son was on his way to her house to visit her when the incident occurred.

Haddad did not return phone calls by press time.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com)

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