Canvassing While Black: Community Organizer Arrested By Michigan Police While Collecting Signatures | National

La’Ron Marshall says he was arrested earlier this month while he was collecting signatures to form a tenants association in his Springfield, Michigan neighborhood.

Marshall, who was charged with felony resisting and obstructing an officer after he refused to show his ID to two Calhoun County sheriff’s deputies on January 2, has since had the charges dropped and received an apology from the officers who arrested him, Sheriff Steven Hinkley and Undersheriff Timothy Hurtt.

MLive reports that one of the arresting officers has also been placed on administrative leave over the incident.

Marshall said had he been a white man out collecting signatures things would have “most certainly” turned out differently. He believes authorities would likely never have even been called and things wouldn’t have escalated as police arrived.

A Ring doorbell camera captured the incident on video, leading to the charges being dropped. “What would have happened if the cameras weren’t rolling?” Marshall told MLive

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“It’s an egregious pandemic,” he said. “Being a Black man and being racially profiled, being looked at as being suspicious and you get tired of that. It needs to change.”

Marshall, a community organizer, says he hopes he can bring the community and law enforcement together so that his arrest can be a lesson for everyone.

“One of the stated goals of the [tenants association] is to increase overall safety and security in the neighborhood,” Marshall’s attorney Jennifer Lord said of her client’s initiative. “That seems like something the police would be on board with.”

Marshall said a tenants association could bring the community together and make sure neighbors all knew their rights around landlords and property managers.

“I’m all about giving back to the community, making sure people have what they need, making sure people are ok,” he said to the newspaper. “The tenants association would shine a light on tenants that don’t have what they are supposed to have.”

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