A young black man by the name of Terrance Shurn was trying to outrun the police on his motorcycle and was killed in June 2003.
A misconception by many is that this was the cause for the riot. Just the opposite, the blacks of Benton Harbor have suffered these types of demeaning actions for years, and have always held back from over reacting.
They held a candlelight vigil as a funeral ceremony and prepared a religious offering in honor of this young man, and the police chief sent his officers in to break it up. In doing so, they denigrated this religious offering, and at that point people started to object.
The police chief then gave the order: “shoot to kill.” Since the police officers were related to many of the people they were supposed to kill, they said “no way.” These were old men, women, and children that he wanted them to shoot.
I am familiar with the plight of the people of Lee Township with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, and it becomes very frustrating trying to earn a living and fight the police a the same time. It is a crime in our country to be poor, and our prisons are the proof of that. I was told that young black men run from the police all the time, because if they don’t , they just may end up dead or beaten severely if they are caught.
--from the excellent e newsletter: West Michigan News Company. (subscribe: email@example.com)
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