A group of Detroit pastors advised African-Americans on Tuesday to stay away from the suburb of Eastpointe, the Detroit News reports.
The warning comes after a Black man filed a federal lawsuit that accuses several Eastpointe police officers of beating him so severely that he lost consciousness and vision in one eye.
According to the Rev. W.J. Rideout III, there’s also a pattern of police racism and discrimination in Eastpointe, based on complaints from Black residents.
Frankie Taylor named Public Safety Director John McNeilance and five officers as defendants in his lawsuit. After arresting him for drunk driving, Taylor alleges the officers restrained him in a chair and the police station and punched him in the head and face.
Fox News Detroit said a police video shows several officers, with their backs to the camera, surrounding a restrained Taylor. One of them puts on a glove and appears to punching him repeatedly. He tells Taylor, “Stop resisting” between blows.
Taylor alleges that he received no medical treatment after the beating. He said doctors later operated on his eye, which previously had lens replacement surgery.
The News said activists, who are planning a police protest, stood united with the pastors on Tuesday during the travel warning announcement.
“The shame of it is we’ve got to designate an American city as unsafe for Black Americans because of the brutality of the police department which engages in systemic racism by not only stereotyping but profiling African-Americans,” said Sam Riddle, political director for the Michigan National Action Network.
Riddle added that Eastpointe’s Black residents already know the police in their community are bias.