Michigan billboard calls out police for racial profiling

Livonia, a city rich with racist history, was once one of metro Detroit's notorious 'sundown towns.'

source WXYZ Detroit via IG

The Livonia Police Department has responded to a billboard in Redford, Michigan, accusing them of racially profiling Black drivers. 

The electronic billboard reads, “Driving While Black? Racial profiling just ahead. Welcome to Livonia.”

The shade was made possible by donations and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, WXYZ.com reports. The billboard went live Monday morning on Telegraph Road, just a half mile south of I-96 in Redford.

“We have reached out to the city for records on how many people are pulled over for African American drivers, and they’ve told us their records don’t keep track” said organizer Sara Overwater.

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“There are a disproportionate amount of African American drivers who’ve been stopped and many complaints, when you consider the predominantly white community,” she added. 

Livonia, a city rich with racist history, was one of metro Detroit’s “sundown towns,” which were neighborhoods of the 19th century and early 20th century that Black people were required by law to flee by sundown to avoid racial violence.

Organizers said the billboard will be up for two weeks.

In the meantime, Livonia Police have rejected accusations that the department in racist, 

A response on their Facebook page reads, in part:

Racial profiling is a serious allegation and is not tolerated. Livonia is a welcoming community to all regardless of one’s race. This billboard says the exact opposite message of our values in the Livonia Police Department and of those in our community.

Police Chief Curtis Caid also noted that officers “do not target their enforcement actions to individuals based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, etc,” the statement said.

Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan chimed in on the controversial billboard, calling it “counterproductive” to the city’s dedication to “improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community,” she said in a statement. 

“This billboard will not help advance the progress of diversity in our community, something to which I am committed,” she added.

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