Michigan lawmakers lock arms during Pledge of Allegiance - WNEM TV 5

Michigan lawmakers lock arms during Pledge of Allegiance

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Source: CBS Source: CBS
LANSING, MI (WNEM/CBS) -

Michigan lawmakers came together to stand against racial injustice as the protest moves from the football field to the floor of the Michigan House.

Ten Democratic members of the House stood with locked arms Thursday afternoon during the Pledge of Allegiance. 

One of the lawmakers who organized the protest said it was a show of unity against racism.

“It’s possible that people might say that it is disrespectful to the flag but I don't think that it is per say. And I mean, um, we're just standing in solidarity with one another during the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think that is any sort of disrespect,” said Michigan State Rep. Jewel Jones, D-Inkster.

Others, however, may have interpreted it differently.

“I’m disappointed to see this come into the House of Representatives. Ah, the pledge is something that has united all of us. There many ways to protest and to get attention. Being disrespectful to the flag of our country and the men and women who fight to defend it. I think is an extremely inappropriate way,” said Michigan State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland.

Jones said he plans to continue this protest and hopes for more members to join the effort.

"The nucleus of all that's going on in the state of Michigan and abroad is actually protest and frustration of people of color and the minority's communities and frustration of law enforcement and has started a national dialog," State Rep. Sheldon Neeley said.

Neeley said his role in the pledge demonstration stemmed from outrage over a statement made this week by Michigan State Police Director Kristie Kibbey Etue.

In a post, Etue called the protesting NFL players "millionaire ingrates who hate Americans and disrespect our armed forces."

"Our biggest concern is that the troopers look to this person for their lead and how they have been engaging in communities of color with all the deaths and high speed chases and all the oppression we have faced. This does not give us any confidence in the leadership of this individual," Neeley said.

Neeley said the goal was never to disrespect the flag nor the Pledge of Allegiance. He said is was to support what they stand for - freedom.

"Knowing we stand with the people and stand in solidarity with the people and the Constitution of America and state of Michigan, that we are prayerfully God-fearing individuals that stand with them and knowing their feelings are not lost on anyone," Neeley said.

Not all representatives are in support of the demonstration.

"I'm disappointed to see this come into the House of Representatives. The pledge is something that has united all of us. There's many ways to protest and to get attention. Being disrespectful to the flag of our country and the men and women who fight to defend it, I think is an extremely inappropriate way," State Rep. Gary Glenn said.

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