In Retaliation for Standing Up to Police Harassment, Entire Row of Ypsilanti Public Housing Residents Served Eviction Notices
Today, Tuesday, June 23, an entire row of residences in Sycamore Meadows public housing in Ypsilanti—part of the Danbury Green neighborhood or “the Green”—received eviction notices for an incident that occurred on Thursday, June 4.
On June 4, around 4 p.m., a Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy shined his headlamps on a resident at the Green for no reason. The resident joked with the officer by asking why he did that—did he want to “hit the weed” (the man was legally smoking marijuana)? The deputy didn’t like that and soon six more sheriff’s cars came in from multiple directions, some rolling across the grass, and made a semi-circle formation with their headlamps shining at the front porches of people’s homes.
The people of Danbury Green, mostly African American, were in no mood for police harassment. One asked if the officers were going to “pull a George Floyd.” More and more neighbors started coming out of their doors to stand in solidarity against the police intimidation. The deputies started threatening people with trespass violations outside their own homes. The people remained defiant. Someone said, “You’re trespassing on my good time!” A political discussion of police harassment of Black communities kicked off. People began to take the knee.
Following this inspiring incident of Black power in the face of gratuitous police intimidation, deputies departed and no tickets were issued (there was nothing to issue them for).
Until today. The same row of homes that faced down seven deputy cars has been served eviction notices from this subsidized public housing. The false accusation is that there was a block party on June 4. There was no block party. People were outside their own homes with bbqs, visiting with family and friends, the same as any other summer day. Danbury Green homes are adjacent to each other in long rows without any side yards, so neighbors are within speaking distance of each other in their front yards, but there was no “block party.”
The eviction notices, one of which is shown here, cites “WCSO reported community disturbances on June 4, 2020.” Residents, many of whose families have lived in the Green for decades, have 10 days to dispute the notice with management or else move out by July 15. In the middle of a pandemic.
There could not be a clearer example of racist police intimidation and structural violence against Black people, criminalized for “living while Black” in their own front yards. The deputies are exercising their white supremacist muscles to see if they can keep this community under their thumb. Let’s show them that time’s up for white and police supremacy. Alert your neighbors, friends, family, city and county reps. March in the street, make some art and music. Whatever you do, let’s do it now in solidarity with the Green!