“They assassinated my son”—Kevin Kellom, who witnessed the shooting
I.C.E. agent Mitchell Quinn, the alleged sole shooter, part of federal-city task force under Detroit Police Chief James Craig’s control
Hundreds rally near Kellom home, march to Cody High School, call for community replacement of police, control of resources
By Diane Bukowski
April 29, 2015
DETROIT – “They assassinated my son,” Kevin Kellom, father of 19-year-old Terrance Kellom, told an angry rally of hundreds, largely youth, near their home on Evergreen in Detroit April 26. “They [police] closed the [front] door, then they brought my son down the stairs, and they shot him in the chest. They executed my son in my face.”
Kellom added, “My son clenched his fists and said, ‘Daddy.’ Then he fell to his knees, and they shot him 10 times. He didn’t deserve that.” A medical examiner’s report said Kellom died of “multiple” gunshot wounds.
The “Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force” (D-FAT), killed the younger Kellom at 1:38 p.m. Monday, April 25, according to his father. The team includes the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Detroit Police.
The mainstream media has focused only on the alleged shooter, identified as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agent Mitchell Quinn, a former Detroit cop with a sordid history of violence on that force. Police claim that Kellom lunged at Quinn with a hammer.
However, the elder Kellom said, multiple cops restrained his son as he was shot to death. Detroit police were included among those who mobbed the home.
“He had no weapons, he had no hammer,” the elder Kellom said. “I want nothing but justice. My son was 19 with one son and a daughter on the way. He had children to stand by. He didn’t weigh any more than 100 pounds. He had officers in the front of him and officers in the back of him, how could he grab a hammer? There were anywhere from 40-50 cops around the house. Every time [police] come into contact with a young Black man, does that have to result in his death?”
Kellom said the police had no search warrant when they came to his house, but got one signed after 4 p.m., which they left on his dining room table at 7 p.m. Police have claimed he voluntarily admitted them to the home, but a cousin of the family said that police threatened to break down the door if Kellom didn’t let them in.
Janay Williams, mother of Terrance Kellom’s children, told Fox 2 News that justice for Kellom would be, “If the police who did that to him get locked up.”
The children’s aunt Adrienne Williams, told Fox 2, “He was here everyday with his son. His son knows who he is. His son knows his face. His son talks about the police, his son is terrified. He didn’t deserve what he got from the police.”
Police said the younger Kellom was wanted on armed robbery charges. He never had a chance to be heard in court on that warrant because he was killed first. He had previous adult convictions of drug trafficking and attempted CCW (carrying a concealed weapon,) but was sentenced to probation in both cases.
Later during a community meeting held April 28, Detroit Police Chief James Craig praised a general police sweep by D-FAT which he alleged has resulted in the arrests of 24 people wanted for murder, 33 for assault to commit murder, and 66 for criminal sexual assault. He did not say how many of those arrests resulted in convictions.
Seventeen such raids, part of “Operation Restore Order,” have been conducted with the DPD in charge since Nov. 2013, when police raided the allegedly “high crime” Colony Arms Apartments. Craig announced the beginning of “Operation River Walk 2,” the 17th raid, through Detroit’s west side March 2.
Neighbors, relatives, friends, and a large contingent of youth participated in the April 26 rally near the Kellom home at Evergreen and W. Chicago. A number of organizations were involved, including CopWatch.com, Mothers of Murdered Children, who are planning a national rally in Washington, D.C. June 5-7, (see flier below) Good Brothers and Sisters for a New Power Coalition, the Franklin Neighborhood Association, and members the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality as well as the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc.
Some protesters traveled from Ann Arbor as well, carrying banners depicting Aura Rosser, killed by police there in November, 2014, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, who was shot to death with an MP-5 submachine gun by Detroit police May 16, 2010.
“I’m here to support my neighbors, the family,” said Sandra Viena. “I have a couple of sons, and I don’t want to see them shot down.”
Bobbi Johnson of the Franklin Park Association added, “There are two day care centers on the corner here, and kids were out walking when the police came. What made it such a priority? We don’t want to see any more young Black men end up dead.”
Dennis Black of Good Brothers and Sisters said, “We have Terrance Kellom, we had Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Renisha McBride and many others. The problem is systematic. It’s a system of violence that terrorizes the Black community. We want everyone prosecuted. We want an end to the militarization of the police and these multi-jurisdictional task forces.”
After an initial press conference and rally, hundreds took off on a march to the former Cody High School at Faust near Chicago, taking over West Chicago on both sides of the street, as drivers honked their horns and young people from the neighborhood hurried out of their backyards to join the march.
They chanted, “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police,” “Whose Streets, Our Streets!” and carried signs declaring “Fuck the Police,” “Bring Down the Detroit Police State and Prison Nation,” among others.
The video above, taken by long-time Detroit activist Kenneth Snodgrass, includes speeches made outside Cody to a predominantly youthful crowd who had lasted through the long march.
Speakers targeted in particular the presence of police in the Detroit school system, and the “school-to-prison pipeline,” which suspends Black youth out of proportion to whites, leaving them vulnerable to the streets and eventually to police and incarceration.
Detroit Public School teachers shut down over 18 schools April 29 and marched to Lansing to protest further devastation of the district by Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to divide it up.
Speakers at Cody also connected the struggle against police brutality to the larger struggles of Black and poor people in the U.S., including the battle for fundamental human rights like water, jobs, and homes. The City of Detroit has announced new plans for more mass water shut-offs.
Later, youth at the rally marched back to the Kellom home, and blocked the intersection at Evergreen and W. Chicago, for a short period, to the displeasure of Detroit police. Police had cleared the way for the march at first, but on the marchers’ return, they began mobilizing for arrests, taking out plastic handcuffs and bringing in the Detroit Police blue bus to threaten protesters.
However, an uncle of Terrance Kellom’s intervened and forestalled any arrests. George Hunter of the Detroit News belatedly obtained a video of this section of the march, which he published today, April 30, in an attempt to demonize the protesters.
He had left the scene long before the march. Hunter also demonized the family of Aiyana Jones in much of his coverage of that case.
Barbara McQuade, head of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, reacted to the shooting in a statement.
“Police work sometimes requires use of deadly force, but officers may use only as much force as is reasonable under the circumstances,” McQuade said. “In a situation like this, it is important to protect the rights of both the deceased and the officer. Therefore, we are closely monitoring the investigation.”
The U.S. Department of Justice refused last year to file civil rights charges in the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, which led to repeated rebellions in Ferguson. They are also supposed to be investigating the brutal killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, as rebellions there and across the U.S. have erupted week after week. Gray’s spinal cord was severed during his arrest by Baltimore police April 12, and he died of his injuries April 19.
Police there have recently tried to turn the case around, claiming that Gray already had a spinal injury from a hospital operation. However, the Baltimore Sun obtained the medical records in that incident, which showed no such injury.
The Kellmon case is allegedly to be turned over to the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to decide if any charges will be brought against Mitchell.
In the now notorious case of Floyd Dent in Inkster, Worthy charged only “Robocop” William Melendez with “Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder,” although he beat Dent 16 times on the top of his head with a gloved fist likely covering brass knuckles, as he held him in a chokehold. Dent said he thought he was “taking my last breath.”
Worthy closed her investigation without charging the other cops involved in the beating, who have been recently exposed by tenacious Channel Four reporter Kevin Dietz for their vicious, humiliating treatment of Dent while he was being booked and was begging for medical care, in addition to their assistance in his near-fatal beating. See video below.
“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?
It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.
And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.
Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
DONATE FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES FOR TERRANCE KELLOM’S FAMILY AT http://www.gofundme.com/tatz2e6,
Sponsored by his aunt Dietra Slym Goody Kellom. Ms. Kellom also posted a video on her own Facebook page showing the undamaged ceiling and attic of the Kelloms’ home. Police have claimed falsely that Terrance ran up into the attic, then jumped up and down on its floor until he fell through, shouting at the same time, “You’ll have to kill me.” Mainstream media toured the Kellom home April 29 so their lawyer could show that there was no damage. Channel Four briefly reported on the tour, but that video is now gone from their website. So view the tour on Ms. Kellom’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dietra.kellom?fref=ufi&pnref=story.
For march application with info about signing up, click on MOMC march. Hotel reservations must be made by May 5, 2015.