A Detroit branch of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights group National Action Network said it planned to shut down a major thoroughfare Monday night, following the police-involved shooting death of an unarmed black man that occurred two days before Christmas. Organizers said they would block traffic with a march down Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, Michigan, where a white police officer killed 35-year-old Kevin Matthews, local ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV reported.
The march was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. local time at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Greenfield Road, in the parking lot of a local supermarket, the Detroit Free Press reported. Marchers were expected to continue a few blocks from there to the Dearborn Police Department, organizers said. The organizations Take On Hate and Black Lives Matter were planning to participate.
— Dana Fairbanks, M.D. (@dcfairbank) December 29, 2015
"We’re going to do much to mimic what happened in Chicago," Rev. Charles Williams, president of the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network, told the Free Press. He was referencing protests seen around the holidays in other cities, including Cleveland and Minneapolis, over police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans.
"We’re going to be shutting down Dearborn,” Williams added. “We have to send a message throughout the nation that it is not OK for young African-American, unarmed men to continue to get shot down by police. This is a move to make sure that we actually send a message throughout this country that police brutality cannot continue."
Matthews, who authorities said was wanted for a probation violation and theft, was not armed when he was chased on foot by a Dearborn officer. Police said there was a struggle with the officer’s gun during the chase, which ended in Detroit with the unidentified officer firing several shots at Matthews. The Dearborn officer has been on administrative leave while Detroit police handle the investigation, according to WXYZ-TV.