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I just wanna dance

When one thinks of police brutality or racial profiling, white kids from the suburbs don’t usually come to mind. But attorney Carl L. Collins III will argue that, in the case of at least one May 6-7 party that took place in Highland Park, police sought out people who appeared to be young suburbanites, harassed them, arrested them falsely and brutally abused them for participating in what police thought was a rave. Collins announced Tuesday, on behalf of Detroit Underground Productions, Inc. and six other individuals, two multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the Highland Park city government and police department, citing civil rights violations, racial discrimination, racial profiling, police trespassing, false arrest, slander, defamation of character, illegal forfeiture of funds and other charges.

In the case of the party in question, Collins said that promoters met with the mayor and were granted approval to host the party. The night of the event, police raided it. According to Collins, a few people were the victims of extreme physical abuse, property was taken and many were arrested. All of the charges were dropped afterward, except for one individual, a minor, who pleaded guilty after being offered a reduced charge. Videotape exists from the night of the party showing the alleged brutality. Rarely has legal action taken place to defend dance culture and Collins says that this form of harassment and profiling has for the most part gone unnoticed.

Right To Dance, an organization formed because of violent raids over the past year in Detroit, staged a protest rally Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Detroit City Hall in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue. "When any story hits the news, it brings to light, yeah, your son or daughter might have been there, but your son or daughter might have also gotten a Maglite upside the head," says Carl Smith of Right To Dance. The organization is protesting the violence, but Smith says he’d like to work with the government and police to create a safer scene as has happened in Toronto, where the city officials drafted laws that were acceptable to both sides of the issue.

More to come. Melissa Giannini contributed to Hot & Bothered, which is edited by George Tysh

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