06-18-2003, 12:49 AM #1
Benton Harbor, Michigan-FF's deal with riots
Be careful out there brothers!
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Hundreds of people rioted for a
second straight night, following the death of a biker who was being
chased by police, setting buildings and cars ablaze as authorities
declared a state of emergency.
Police confirmed one person was shot in the shoulder, four
houses and five private cars were on fire and several police cars
were damaged in this southwestern Michigan city of about 12,000
More than 100 police officers from the Michigan State Police,
Benton Harbor and other nearby cities were on the scene in riot
gear and preparing to use tear gas on the crowd early Wednesday
At least seven people had been arrested, although potential
charges were unknown.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm approved a state of emergency for the
city, which will allow for state resources, such as the National
Guard, to be brought in, if needed.
"Several hundred people are creating a significant disturbance
in the streets," said Berrien County Sheriff's Lt. William Tucker.
One of the buildings on fire was the vacant two-story building
where Terrance Shurn, 28, of Benton Harbor, lost control of his
speeding motorcycle early Monday.
The building was heavily damaged as firefighters were kept at
bay by the crowd. At least one firefighter sustained an injury from
the crowd while trying to reach the building, Tucker said. The
nature of the injury was unknown Tuesday night and the firefighter
was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.
The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported reporters and media
vehicles were targeted as one vehicle had its windows broken out.
The angry shouts and screams from protesters carried down a hill
to the St. Joseph River where police officers had their staging
area, the paper reported.
Residents interviewed earlier Tuesday said the problems in this
mostly black city are the result of what they said has been years
of police harassment - not racism.
Telephone messages seeking comment were left Tuesday with Benton
Township Police Chief James Coburn.
During a three-hour melee that ended around 2 a.m. Tuesday,
officers were outnumbered and unable to arrest any of the hundreds
of residents involved.
During that disturbance, four Benton Harbor police vehicles
suffered extensive damage and three more received minor damage. Two
fire department vehicles also were damaged.
The violence followed Shurn's death 24 hours earlier.
The chase started in Berrien County's Royalton Township, where a
sheriff's deputy spotted two high-performance motorcycles traveling
north toward Benton Harbor on Michigan 139 at speeds surpassing 100
The deputy briefly pursued the pair but stopped because of the
motorcycles' high speed. A short time later, Benton Township
Patrolman Wes Koza witnessed one of the motorcyclists speeding and
running stop signs, police said.
Koza pursued the motorcycle into Benton Harbor, where it drove
through yards, came back onto the street and ran more stop signs.
The officer was several blocks back when Shurn's motorcycle hit the
Shurn's speed in the residential neighborhood approached 70 mph
at times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they did not know why Shurn was fleeing from the
officers, although his operator's license had been suspended and
officers found a small amount of marijuana on him, state police Lt.
Joseph Zangaro said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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06-18-2003, 07:22 AM #2
What better way to protest "injustice" then by burning down your own neighborhoods?
06-18-2003, 08:58 AM #3
It really doesn't surprise me in the least bit.
06-18-2003, 10:00 AM #4
For the life of me, I cannot fathom why these people are rioting because a man that was driving without a license and was BREAKING THE LAW (in many ways) chose to RUN FROM THE POLICE and ended up killing himself! Are these people really that blind that they cannot see that the police were just doing their job?!?!An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
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