LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — A billboard campaign, funded by donations and organized by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, is calling out Livonia Police for alleged racial profiling.
The billboard is set to go up Monday at 9 a.m. on Telegraph Road, just a half mile south of I-96 in Redford.
“We have reached out to the city for records on how many people are pulled over for African American drivers, and they’ve told us their records don’t keep track” said organizer Sara Overwater. “There are a disproportionate amount of African American drivers who’ve been stopped and many complaints, when you consider the predominantly white community.”
Livonia Police posted a response on their Facebook page. Part of that says, “Racial profiling is a serious allegation and is not tolerated. Livonia is a welcoming community to all regardless of one’s race. This billboard says the exact opposite message of our values in the Livonia Police Department and of those in our community.”
Organizers said the billboard will be up for two weeks.
Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan released this statement: “
We WILL NOT tolerate racism in Livonia.
In response to the George Floyd murder, I recommissioned the Livonia Human Relations Commission, providing them with a new vision and new appointees dedicated to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community.
Less than two weeks ago, Livonia hosted the first Partnership for Progress Listening Session focused on frank conversations about race across our region. It was sponsored by the Western Wayne NAACP and the Conference of Western Wayne.
We have been in touch with representatives of Livonia Citizens Caring about Black Lives, inviting them to join the Human Relations Commission conversations and their work.
This billboard is counterproductive to these and other efforts we are taking to ensure Livonia is ‘a welcoming place for all’ – a goal that this group and I share. This billboard will not help advance the progress of diversity in our community, something to which I am committed.
Having just knocked on tens of thousands of doors last year during my campaign, I know that Livonia is more diverse than it was 10 years ago, which is a sign of progress. It is also a signal that more people feel safe and welcome in Livonia.
I look forward to continuing to engage with the community to make progress on issues of racial justice.”
Police Chief Curtis Caid released this statement:
"The Livonia Police Department is a Constitutional law enforcement agency. Livonia Police officers do not target their enforcement actions to individuals based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. Racial profiling is a serious allegation and is not tolerated. We are proud that Livonia has been consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the region.
Livonia is a welcoming community to all regardless of one’s race. This billboard sends the exact opposite message of our values at the Livonia Police Department and of those in our community.”