When Willie Hampton led 150 chanting janitors into the Ameritech building downtown Oct. 4, police grabbed him off a table, handcuffed him and jailed him for eight hours. Police told him they were investigating charging him with “inciting a riot,” a felony. A month later, incident was still under investigation and the charges were still under consideration.
American Civil Liberties Union Director Kary Moss said Hampton’s actions were “classic First Amendment speech. We have a very noble history of people from Margaret Sanger to César Chavez doing exactly what this man did, which is standing up and speaking to people when their rights are being trampled upon. To call that incitement to riot makes a travesty of the First Amendment.
“From the OAS demonstrations on (the June 4 actions against the Organization of American States in which police preemptively arrested young organizers before the demonstrations took place), we became concerned that the police are drastically undertrained. My guess is that many of them were born after Ronald Reagan became president and are completely ignorant of the whole history of demonstrations. They need to be trained better that people have the right to speak out.”Jane Slaughter dines for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.