A coalition of activists led by Black Lives Matter organizers protested Saturday afternoon in Lansing, Michigan for Anthony Hulon, a white man who died nearly a year ago in Lansing Jail.
“What’s his name? Anthony Hulon!” activists chanted. “No justice, no peace! Fuck 12! Murdering ass bitches!”
The march began at Lansing’s Ferris park where about 60 community activists gathered. The group marched past the Michigan State Capitol to the Lansing Police Department (LPD) Headquarters, where they held a rally. The same building also contains the Lansing jail.
Hulon, 54, died on April 11, 2020 in the Lansing jail after four Lansing Police Department officers pinned him on his stomach for several minutes while he was handcuffed.
The situation was recorded by a security camera inside the jail cell.
Footage shows officers, Edgar Guerra, Gary Worden, Charles Wright and Trevor Allman holding down Hulon even after he said “I can’t breathe.”
“Positional asphyxia” was the formal cause of death according to the Ingham County Medical Examiner’s Office. The office labeled the death as a homicide.
Hulon had been arrested twelve hours earlier on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
The Buckfire Law firm has filed a lawsuit against the city, the Lansing Police Department, and six individual LPD members for wrongful death, including all four who physically held him down. No criminal charges have been filed against any of the officers involved.
Lansing resident James Henson – who is forming a Black Panther Party chapter – spoke in front of the LPD HQ.
“This has been going on for so long, but not only for so long, it’s been going on nonstop,” said Henson, who carried a handgun on his right leg. “We want change. In order to make that change, we gotta force that change.”
“We need to do things that other people are afraid to do if we want to actually be free,” he added.
Democratic Lansing mayoral candidate Farhan Sheikh-Omar pointed out that “Anthony Hulon died a month before George Floyd.”
Sheikh-Omar criticized Democratic Lansing Mayor Andy Schor for having marched with Black Lives Matter over the summer, after Hulon’s death but before the public was aware of the details.
“Andy Schor marched with this community. He took a knee with this community, knowing that a man had died inside that city jail,” he said. “He did not tell us. He did not tell the city council.”
“He did not even give any answers to Anthony Hulon’s family,” he added. “They had to get a lawyer in order to get answers.”
Sheikh-Omar added that he would fire the officers involved if elected.
It was originally expected that members of the anti-government “Boogaloo” movement would participate, but apparent political disagreements ahead of the event caused a split. About a dozen armed “Boogaloo” activists arrived as the rally took place, but stood across the street.
“Politics, that’s the way to put it,” one masked boogaloo member said when asked about the schism.
“We’re just here to support. That’s the answer. That’s the only answer you’re going to get,” another added.
The groups remained separated as the rally approached its conclusion. The boogaloos chanted along as rally attendees held final chants.
“No justice, no peace!”
“Fuck these racist ass police!”
“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down!”
“If they say later, fuck no, now!”
Heather Hulon, sister of Anthony Hulon, expressed her intent to continue pressing forward with activism.
“This right here is a start,” she said. “I’m gonna keep fighting, fighting for my brother, fighting for everyone else.”
“Together we rise, together we change.”
“It’s all of us,” Heather Hulon told News2Share in an interview after the rally. “It affects everyone.”
“I can’t even put into words how much I appreciate everybody coming out for us,” she said.
Given that charges are not being pressed against the officers involved, she added that justice would mean the officers involved at least being fired.
“We don’t want this to happen to somebody else,” she said.
As to broader police reform, she points to qualified immunity, a doctrine that shield police officers from individual civil liability when they may not reasonably know that their actions were illegal.
“Retraining I don’t think is really the answer. I mean yes, they need to be trained better, but they’ve been trained, that’s their job,” she added. “I think it really lies in changing the laws with qualified immunity, but to do that, it takes everybody to get out and vote.”