New Era Detroit continues call for justice

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The group New Era Detroit last week continued its fight for justice for a Detroit man killed by a Dearborn police officer.

The group has held multiple rallies and protests asking for answers from the Police Department regarding the Dec. 23 shooting of Kevin Matthews, 35.

After a rally in front of the Police Department on Jan. 4 brought no answers from police, protestors attempted to attend a city council meeting Jan. 12 where they were locked out.

The group then protested at Fairlane Town Center Jan. 15, where members chanted “Boycott Dearborn,” and “No money for Dearborn.”

On Jan. 20, New Era Detroit member Keith Horton posted a video to his Facebook page growing group officials calling for justice and the termination of the Dearborn officer involved in the shooting. (To view the video, go to www.facebook.com/northleg/videos/10205699251421734/?fref=nf.)

Horton said that the group is in Dearborn for justice for Matthews and not to bring danger to the city or its residents.

“We are a loving, peaceful organization, but we are a very militant origination in terms of defending our people,” he said. “We are anti-oppression, so if any entity or any police officer or anybody for that nature is oppressing our people, then, yes, we are against them.”

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 declined to comment. Police Chief Ronald Haddad did not return phone calls by press time.

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

According to reports, the police officer was patrolling the Tireman Avenue and Greenfield Road area when he spotted Matthews.

Matthews was known to be wanted on a Redford Township probation violation warrant and 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.

Following the Jan. 12 rally, New Era Detroit Vice President Zeek Ned posted a message and video on Facebook calling for the termination of the officer. (To view the video, go to www.facebook.com/100010685831557/videos/165963857103141/?fref=nf.)

The group was shown protesting outside the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave., chanting “All power to the people” while knocking on the doors.

“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.”

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

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