Help Us Keep Reporting. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Shelby Township trustee posts racist meme, defends Robert E. Lee, criticizes George Floyd

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 12:19 PM

click to enlarge A meme depicting the mascots of Aunt Jemima and Quaker Oats posted on the Facebook account of Shelby Twonship trustee John Vermeulen. - JOHN VERMEULEN'S FACEBOOK
  • John Vermeulen's Facebook
  • A meme depicting the mascots of Aunt Jemima and Quaker Oats posted on the Facebook account of Shelby Twonship trustee John Vermeulen.
A Shelby Township trustee’s Facebook page is riddled with offensive remarks, from defending Confederate leaders to criticizing George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

John Vermeulen, a Trump-loving Republican, also posted an image depicting the mascots of Aunt Jemima and Quaker Oats in bed together, under the caption, “Can’t we all get along.” Quaker Oaks recently announced it’s changing the name and logo of Aunt Jemima because it’s “based on a racial stereotype.”

Above the meme, Vermeulen wrote, “ROTFLMAO. Talk about being ‘Politically Incorrect.’”

In another post, Vermeulen scoffed at the removal of Robert E. Lee monuments, saying the Confederate leader, who waged a civil war to protect slavery, was merely trying to “preserve the Souths Economy.”

“Lee and many like him stood to preserve the Souths Economy and what had been a long standing and accepted practice of the times, Vermeulen wrote. “Lee and many others of that region of the United States risked their lives to protect their Economic System and many sacrificed their lives as well in doing so. I ask would the people of our area be willing to fight for the Auto Industry and all that it provides to the people of this State, and our Country? To demolish this monument is akin to erasing a part of American History.”


Vermeulen was one of five trustees who voted last week to suspend, rather than terminate, Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide for 30 days after tweets surfaced in which he glorified police brutality and called protesters “barbarians and subhumans.”

Vermeulen defended the chief on Facebook, sharing a post that insisted Shelide did nothing wrong.

click to enlarge Trustee John Vermeulen - SHELBY TOWNSHIP
  • Shelby Township
  • Trustee John Vermeulen
Vermeulen also posted a news article about Floyd’s criminal history, calling it “the other side of the story.” He also questioned whether police were at fault for Floyd’s death.

“Mr. Floyd was a very big and powerfully built man and importantly I think a lot of Police Officers would tell you that sometimes when people say they give up, cannot breathe who are being arrested/ subdued when the Police loosen their grip, people come out swinging and kicking,” Vermeulen wrote.

Vermeulen “liked” comments that shifted the blame on Floyd, including one that read, “Uhhhhh, if he hadn’t tried to use a counterfeit bill, he’d still be alive.”

Vermeulen also “liked” comments that called protesters “filthy, sick animals,” “not humans,” “savages,” and “libtards.”

Vermeulen did not respond to Metro Times’ request for a comment.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

August 5, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit