Community partner of the Detroit Justice Center – Accountability 4 Dearborn – is celebrating huge and hard-fought victories after nearly two years of organizing their community toward carceral abolition and Black liberation.
Accountability 4 Dearborn (A4D) is a grassroots group of Dearborn residents who are “working to build a culture and expectation of accountability and action in the city to make the city safe for Black residents, students, employees, and visitors” (Accountability 4 Dearborn).
The Dearborn chief of police recently announced that the police department is:
Disbanding the police team dedicated to patrolling Dearborn’s borders with majority-Black neighborhoods in Detroit
Ending traffic stops for things like plate violations
Ending pretextual traffic stops for the purpose of producing “evidence”
Creating a mental health co-responder model where social workers will be the primary responders instead of police
The police department has launched a data transparency dashboard and modified the online civilian complaint form to accept anonymous complaints, as well.
Lead organizer with A4D, Alexandria Hughes, was featured as a special guest at DJC’s 4th birthday party last month, highlighting the impact that DJC and our community partners have made in a short amount of time.
During her presentation, Alexandria made it clear: “None of [these victories] were on their radar before our work began 18 months ago. When we started, most people were advising us to politely wait for anti-Black racism to go away.”
DJC is proud to have supported this progress through the research and policy recommendations we produce, intended to help guide grassroots organizations like A4D, who bring them to life through people power and persistence.
We recognize that these policy wins are wins for residents of Dearborn and for Detroiters.
Detroiters are not only profiled and impacted by Detroit’s police department.
Because of a long history of segregation, most Detroiters have to travel to majority-white suburbs to access jobs, healthcare, and other resources. This includes suburbs like Dearborn.
Our Metro Detroit Policing Graphics reveal that nearly ¾ of arrests made by Dearborn PD are along the Detroit border, disproportionately targeting Black people.
Disbanding the Border Crimes Initiative Team is, therefore, a win for all Detroiters.
We outline in our Highway Robbery report that metro-Detroit police spend the bulk of their time performing traffic stops for things like plate violations. These minor infractions often kickstart a vicious cycle of ticketing, arrest, and incarceration – producing criminal records that haunt people for the rest of their lives.
Ending traffic stops for plate violations in Dearborn is, therefore, a win for all Detroiters.
As exciting as it was to celebrate this shared progress at our birthday party, the work continues. Alexandria ended her presentation with a variety of ways community members can plug in to the movement:
A4D is collecting signatures for a petition to create an Independent Civilian Oversight Commission of the Dearborn Police Department. All are welcomed to sign on, whether residents of Dearborn or not.
A4D plans to host another brake light clinic later this year, serving as a model of public safety that doesn’t rely on punishment. Contributions toward costs can be sent to $acc4dearborn.
Those interested in volunteering their data skills may reach out to email@example.com.
To continue reading and learning more, visit accountabilityfordearborn.org.
It takes us all – organizations like DJC, grassroots groups like A4D, and YOU! – to bring about real safety and an end to racist policing.
Support DJC by making a birthday gift to sustain our work for another four years.
DJC plays a vital role in shaping change and ensuring it is true to the values and needs of those most impacted by anti-Black racism and policing.
We’re honored to do this work in partnership with groups like Accountability 4 Dearborn for as long as it is needed.