Democrats call on AG’s Office to investigate Shelby Township police over handling of protesters

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click to enlarge Shelby Township police arrest protesters who were rallying against the department's police chief, Robert Shelide, in 2020. - Viola Klocko
Viola Klocko
Shelby Township police arrest protesters who were rallying against the department's police chief, Robert Shelide, in 2020.

The Michigan Democratic Party will consider a resolution that calls on the state’s Attorney General’s Office to investigate Shelby Township Police Department for its handling of nonviolent protestors.

The resolution was recently approved by Democrats at their conventions in the 9th and 10 districts.

The state party will vote on the resolution at its convention on April 9.

Former Macomb County judge and prosecutor Carl Marlinga, who is running for congress in the 10th District, endorsed the resolution and said a federal investigation is warranted.

“I support a federal investigation, and this is particularly painful for me because I left the court to run for this [congressional seat] and if I have stayed, I might have had a chance to do something about it because one of the cases was assigned to me,” Marlinga said at the Warren-Sterling Heights Democratic Club meeting on March 7. “I apologize. It is a deep regret but there is a serious injustice there, and I think that we need a federal investigation. This could have been in the form of a judicial opinion but now it’s just off the cuff."

The resolution also calls for authorities to dismiss charges against the protesters.

Protesters known as the "Shelby 5" were charged with misdemeanor and felony charges for peacefully marching on the street. Police in riot gear rushed, assaulted, and arrested the protesters.

Five protesters were originally jailed and charged with felony counts of assaulting, resisting, and obstructing a police officer. A handful of other protesters were charged with misdemeanors.

They were protesting Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide, who was suspended for 30 days for glorifying police brutality on a troll account on Twitter.

In a tweet in 2020, Shelide referenced the wave of Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation.

"Trump threatening to deploy the military. I have a better idea: unleash real cops and let them take care of these barbarians," he wrote. "I promise it will be over in 24 hours. Cops are crippled by politicians and the media."

He also called protesters “wild savages.”

The resolution said that the Michigan Democratic Party should “call upon Dana Nessel and the office of the Michigan Attorney General to conduct an investigation into the charges made against the ‘Shelby 5’ and determine if their civil rights were violated and if undue biased attitudes by Chief Shelide were a factor in actions taken by law enforcement.”

In October 2020, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin called on the Macomb County prosecutor to dismiss the charges against the protesters. Levin also said on Twitter that he was “disturbed” that “a peaceful demonstration was met with disproportionate force.”

“The police turned out in force with riot gear to meet 100 peaceful protesters,” Levin tweeted. “That’s not de-escalation. They dealt with protestors with aggressive takedowns, using such force that a protestor ended up in the hospital with a concussion."

After the arrests, the Shelby Township Police Department adorned its lobby with over-sized photos of the protesters being detained.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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