Police provocation at Flint Town Hall results in six arrests
22 April 2017
Armed police wearing bullet-proof vests dominated a so-called Town Hall Thursday evening called by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver to air the “feedback, questions and concerns” of residents after her announcement of a proposal for the 30-year future of the city’s water system. Many residents questioned the selection of venue, the House of Prayer Missionary Church, rather than a public space, given that this was supposed to be a forum for residents to air their grievances.
The event opened with a provocation by Flint Chief of Police Tim Johnson, who told the audience of over 100 that no disruptions or profanity would be tolerated and that since it was a “house of God”, that all males had to remove their hats. “I just want to make sure this meeting goes off the way it’s supposed to and that everybody’s respecting everyone,” Johnson declared. “Please don’t be in here trying to disrupt this meeting, because if you do, I’m going to escort you out and I’m only going to take you to the back door and then you’re going to jail. I’m not going to play with nobody tonight.”
During the course of the meeting, several residents expressed the view that the meeting should not have been held in a church, evoking applause. One person, who was recording the proceedings on his cell phone, shouted, “I can’t wear a hat, but you can wear a pistol?” He was quickly escorted out of the meeting and arrested.
The arrest of a protester at the Flint Town Hall
Under federal and Michigan law, the maximum time an individual can be held by police before being charged with a crime is 72 hours. The above video illustrates how law enforcement personnel abuse this limit.