200 rally asking for justice in CMU noose case

By | 2018-01-16T04:59:08-04:00 December 13th, 2007|News|

MT. PLEASANT– About 200 people from Detroit, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids and Mt. Pleasant rallied outside the Isabella County Building Friday, hoping to pressure County Prosecutor Larry Burdick to file felony ethnic intimidation charges against a Central Michigan University student who has admitted making and hanging four nooses in a campus classroom in early November.
Chanting “No Justice! No Peace!” about 30 students marched from the campus of CMU to the county building. A large contingent from Detroit arrived about an hour later.
“We are here to talk about prosecutorial misconduct,” Grand Rapids radio host Robert S told the crowd. “When a prosecutor sees a clear crime and writes it off as a joke, there is a problem. If someone had painted a swastika there would be a lot more people here.”
He added,
“They are quicker to get you in trouble for praying in class, than for hanging a noose.”
Among the demonstrators was a contingent of the New Black Panther Party from Detroit, which, ironically, has been termed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group’s leader, Minister Malik Shabazz, said the Panthers are nothing like the neo-Nazis and KKK. “They work against other people,” Shabazz said. “Those are terrorist organizations. There’s a difference.”
The protest was peaceful and lasted just over two hours. Officers from the Michigan State Police, Isabella County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, and Central Michigan University were either patrolling the grounds and building or were nearby prepared to respond to any problems.
Kierre Majors, 21, a CMU student from Detroit who helped plan the protest, said, “Our goal was to send the prosecuting attorney and CMU a message that this will not be tolerated.”
Majors and others contend Burdick is moving slowly. Burdick says he is awaiting more information in the case.
But Majors, who has met with Burdick, is not happy with that explanation, asking, “Why is there a lack of urgency in this?”
Not everyone at the County Building was there to protest Burdick. CMU student Eric Doll, 21, stood across the street and held a sign labeling as hypocritical the actions of the ministers involved in organizing the protest. “I think their leader is being irresponsible,” Doll said. “Let the courts work.”
Doll said he does not think the nooses were a hate crime because the student that put them in the classroom has come forward. Doll referred to an anonymous letter posted to the CMU student newspaper website that took credit for the nooses, but claimed they were a joke. Doll said he did not think the person who hung the nooses did so out of hate because “people who commit hate crimes are cowards.”
The student who admitted planting the nooses, who has not been identified, could receive several years in prison if convicted.

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