The public has every right to question the behavior and policies of a Police Department.
But Tuesday’s rally sponsored by the Hamtramck NAACP over concerns about Hamtramck police was ill-timed and offbase. The civil rights organization is concerned about how police treated an African-American minister who was arrested during a police investigation.
The Rev. Wayne Little was arrested by Hamtramck police because officers say he became unruly and interfered with them during the detainment of his nephew and several other youths. Officers had responded to a call that a house break-in was underway.
When officers arrived at the site, several African-American youths were congregated on the porch of the house in question. Before officers could determine what was happening, police say Little confronted officers and demanded to know what was going on.
The interaction deteriorated from there, police say.
The department is not going into more details about what happened because charges are pending. The Rev. Little is refusing to speak about the matter, at least to this paper.
In the meantime, the Hamtramck NAACP used this incident as a catalyst for holding a rally to air grievances about past incidents involving minorities despite having already met with city officials to talk about the issue.
As far as the Rev. Little case goes, the incident is still under review. There is no reason to make a knee-jerk reaction and assume the cops acted improperly.
In a press conference held last Friday, City Manager Bill Cooper said tensions are running high because of ongoing problems with high school students and a number of outsiders stirring up trouble after school. Police officers have been spending afternoons running from one trouble spot to another to break up fights and groups of youths getting ready to fight.
The situation has become a powder keg ready to explode.
Last Friday, a group described as African-American male teens were reported to have assaulted three people in three separate incidents. The gang of teens was caught on camera beating one young man.
One of the beating victims received six stitches.
We wonder, where is the outrage and concern of the Hamtramck NAACP in these incidents? Where are the so-called community leaders when students are walking home from the high school and face a threat of being beat up?
Why are these so-called leaders – most of whom live in Detroit, including the president of the Hamtramck NAACP, Kamal Rahman, choosing to point the finger at the police?
We invite these “leaders” to actually hit the streets during the week and watch what happens. We invite them to walk in the shoes of the officers who have to go chasing after these out-of-control thugs.
We also ask these “leaders’ just what do they expect the cops to do, sit by and keep their hands off these troublemakers so they can freely go and beat up people at random?
Instead of picking on the police, at a time when they are under immense stress, maybe we all should help out and keep these kids in order.