Residents protest vehicle ban on island at city council meeting - WNEM TV 5

Residents protest vehicle ban on island at city council meeting

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

"I really want to commend our citizens who were on the island this past Sunday," Saginaw Mayor Dennis Browning said.

 A popular spot for gathering is now the center of a contentious debate.

Residents spoke out in numbers at the city council meeting on Monday about the city of Saginaw’s decision to ban vehicles from Ojibway Island on Sunday after 4 p.m. They said the city is targeting African-Americans who largely gather on the island during that time.

As one resident pointed out, Ojibway Island has been a place for peaceful gathering, and said the city is reprimanding a specific part of the population for the actions of a few.

City officials and police have heard complaints of fighting and drugs on Sunday nights, which is what led to the decision to ban cars from entering the island during that time.

Sgt. Reggie Williams said in a previous interview, this is not a case of discrimination as some have suggested.

"This is not a ban against people... it's against cars," Williams said.

Williams visited Ojibway Island on Sunday, allowing residents to stay past 4 p.m.

"The sergeant knew they were honest from the heart and came back and closed the park. That's what it's all about, that's what our citizens are all about," Browning said.

There was a sense of optimism among city officials. If residents can do more community policing, perhaps the ban could be changed.

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