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Rough stuff

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Detroit’s finest reportedly lived up to their renegade reputation last Saturday, putting on a little show of force while mayors from around the country were in town for their big national conference.

According to several sources, the cops lost their cool when a crowd of protesters blocking the street in front of the Renaissance Center didn’t move their pickets fast enough.

Three people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges. But the observers News Hits talked to say it was the conduct of the cops that should be called into question.

“The one arrest I witnessed, the police were pretty forceful,” Rebecca Kraemer told New Hits. A law student at Wayne State University, Kraemer was volunteering as a designated legal observer for the nonprofit National Lawyers Guild.

“What I saw was the officer pushing this man around, then the officer grabbed him by the neck, threw him to the ground, then kneeled on his back while continuing to hold him by the neck.”

What was the man doing to inspire the rough treatment?

“It was a peaceful protest,” said Kraemer. “I didn’t see anybody doing anything that warranted the use of that kind of force.”

Kraemer adds that she was on the wrong end of some shoving by a cop herself, and that when she attempted to hand a card providing a contact number to one of those arrested, a helpful officer ripped it from her hand.

Scott Ellis, another WSU law student serving as a legal observer, agreed that the cops overreacted. “There was no reason the police needed to do what they did. No one was posing a threat. The crowd was moving back, then all of a sudden police started pushing them. It was like, ‘We’re going to do this to you because we can.’”

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail cguyette@metrotimes.com

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