Enough is Enough: Protestors March in Novi and Walled Lake

Enough is Enough: Protestors March in Novi and Walled Lake

(Drew Saunders, June 8, 2020)

Novi, Walled Lake, MI -You don’t need a lot of money or organization to start a protest against police brutality and racial profiling. Dylan McGonnell, Lacey Ling and Christopher Ling started talking about their protest around Lake on Facebook and were surprised at how quickly and enthusiastically a hundred or so people showed up to participate in their peaceful protest for police reform on Sunday afternoon.

“The message needs to get out to this community right here. Anyone who grew up here knows that racism is alive and well here. They’ve experienced it growing up. I’ve seen it. My sister-in-law has experienced it herself. It’s important that everyone stands up for civil rights,” Lacey Ling said.

The protest started in Novi’s Pavilion Shore Park and wound around East Lake Drive to downtown Walled Lake, before lining the sidewalk in front of the Walled Lake Police Department. There were a handful of people who shouted abuse, one at a time, to the marchers as they chanted slogans like “Say his name!” “George Floyd” But the few disgruntled voices were outnumbered by passing cars, honking support and lake-goers at Mercer Beach and the houses along East Lake Drive, who applauded them and repeated the slogans.

“Enough is enough,” Judy, a Novi resident, said. “America needs to open its eyes. It’s time for America to recognize that Black lives do matter; and it’s time to vote.”

Another protestor was Jennifer Camilleri, a Novi teacher, who protested for the first time.

“It’s in my back yard. I want to participate in my community. It’s so great to see the community come together,” Camilleri said.

“I’m definitely glad to see people out here together, protesting for a cause for everyone, but primarily the injustice of the African American community and the injustice that has plagued this country for over 400 years,” Novi resident Wendy Hill said.

The protest made their voices known in front of the police station. Novi police had escorted the protestors along East Lake Drive and Walled Lake’s Chief of Police Paul Shakinas was outside to listen to protestors when they got to his front door.

He joined the protestors as they went through a nine minute moment of silence, a reference to the eight minutes and forty-six seconds that it took for George Floyd to die, under the knee of the now-former Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is currently facing a trial for second degree murder, and the three other officers who were also involved have also been fired and charged.

“The Constitution said all men are equal. Why isn’t that happening?” Hill added when the silence ended.

Shakinas says that his department gets together with the Wixom and Wolverine police departments to conduct cultural sensitivity training and diversity training, as well as both physical and verbal de-escalation.

“The police officers here don’t condone [the tactics used by Chauvin]. It’s not how we were trained,”

Shakinas said. “For the officers who are out their doing their jobs and doing the right thing, this is embarrassing. …. I’ve been a police officer for nineteen years. We’re not trained to do that. It’s frustrating for police officers who are doing their job right.”

This is one of a vast number of protests happening around the world following the death of a black man named George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police on Memorial Day.   Protests have been happening in cities large and small. The protest was mild compared to riots that destroyed parts of Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York and other cities around the county and the globe.  In Metro Detroit several smaller protests have been up, including in Pontiac, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Huntington Woods, Clarkston and more.

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