By Fighting Words Staff
There was another demonstration in downtown Detroit outside police headquarters on Saturday, April 10, 2021. People gathered to rally and march against illegal evictions carried out with the assistance of Detroit law-enforcement personnel.
Several African American women spoke at the gathering saying they were victims of slumlords who swindled and harassed them. These women were then forcefully thrown out of their rental homes and robbed.
After the opening rally, the crowd marched through sections of downtown passing key landmarks in the housing crisis including Quicken Loans and the Wayne County Treasurer. The action was co-sponsored and endorsed by many organizations such as Detroit Will Breathe, Detroit Eviction Defense and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition.
Demonstration on the 2nd Precinct in Detroit
Just five days later there was a demonstration scheduled on Thursday, April 15 outside the 2nd Precinct on the westside of Detroit.
The action was in response to a threatened illegal eviction by police against the Bohanen family, a multi-generational household which was swindled by unscrupulous slumlords. Negotiations were underway before the scheduled Noon demonstration between Attorney Joe McGuire of Detroit Eviction Defense (DED) on behalf of the Bohanen family and police officials along with City of Detroit appointees.
An agreement was reached between the real estate agent representing the owners and the Bohanen family to allow them to remain for 30 days. City officials claim that they will assist through a municipal program to find the Bohanens another stable rental home.
This incident represents a widespread phenomenon in the city where many families are being subjected to illegal evictions after being robbed by scam artists exploiting the economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although police officials said they do not conduct evictions, there are many documented cases over the last several months which contradicts their assertion.
Demonstrations were held at the 10th precinct during the winter dealing with this same issue. The state of Michigan is leading the United States in rates of coronavirus infections.
Representatives of DED, Detroit Will Breathe (DWB) and Moratorium NOW! Coalition were present at the gathering outside the 2nd precinct.
Although a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium remains in force until September, many landlords across the country are ignoring the measure and continue to throw out tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are reports of evictions from many areas of the country from California to New York state.
Moreover, the current crisis provides openings for unscrupulous persons and groupings who are defrauding tenants desperate for housing. Police agencies and the courts have, on numerous occasions, carried out the wishes of slumlords and criminals leaving working class people without a legal recourse.
Independent organizations committed to housing justice are escalating their activism aimed at halting all evictions during this critical period.