Herman Vallery II is at bottom right being interviewed during his family’s 20th anniversary memorial for his only child Lamar Grable, on Sept. 21, 2016. Others in photo include Lamar’s mother Arnetta Grable, Sr. in black and gray dress and Cornell Squires, Sr., at her left. The two preceded Val in death after lifetimes of struggle against police brutality and injustices inflicted on poor and working people. Val constructed all the signs at the right, which he and others carried for those 20 years.


By Diane Bukowski

Lamar Grable, 20 when he was murdered by Detroit cop Eugene Brown with partner Vicki Yost Sept. 21, 1996

Herman Vallery II, affectionately known as “VAL” to his friends and family, passed away June 7, 2018 after a lifetime devoted to the struggle for the people. He was the father of Lamar Grable, his only child, who was shot to death by notorious Detroit killer cop Eugene Brown on Sept. 21, 1996. Brown killed three people without cause, and shot and wounded at least nine people.

Afterwards, Val joined with Lamar’s mother Arnetta Grable and her other children Aaron Grable and Arnetta Grable, Jr. in forming the Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality, which grew exponentially afterwards as police continued murdering Detroiters and others across the country. It preceded the founding of the national Black Lives Matter movement that swept the U.S. after the 2014 police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

Val was a jazz musician and motorcyclist as well as a stalwart fighter. He created numerous posters throughout the ten years of struggle for justice for Lamar, including one with a blow-up of the front page of the Michigan Citizen with the headline “SERIAL KILLER KOPS” about Brown. He organized tirelessly in the community, speaking at the Detroit City Council and Detroit Police Commission meetings. During that battle, he also lost “Dee Dee,” the love of his life, but he kept on fighting. 

Members of the Original Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality at the April 28, 2015 protest against Terrance Kellom’s killing by police inside his father’s house. They are (l to r), Arnetta Grable, Jr., Butch Carrington, Arnetta Grable, Sr., Herman Vallery (father of Lamar Grable), and Cornell Squires.

He was never without fliers about his beloved son, and always wore a button with Lamar’s photo on his cap. Lamar Grable lived with Val at his home on Canton for several years before his death. Lamar had left his father’s home the night of Sept. 21, 2016 to attend a Police Athletic League (PAL) event with a friend at a nearby church. As he was returning across a vacant lot on Field St., Eugene Brown and his partner Vicki Yost unleashed a barrage of bullets at him, striking him eight times in the back and chest. 

When the family’s civil suit finally came to trial years later, testimony elicited by Attorneys David Robinson and Melissa El demonstrated unquestionably that Brown and Yost shot Lamar thinking he was another man they were pursuing. Brown admitted on the stand that he “could have” shot Lamar three times in the chest as he lay on the ground, already wounded by gunfire to his back.

Val was sorely grieved by Arnetta Grable’s death Oct. 30, 2017. He said he spent many hours talking on the phone with her and he shared a friendly relationship with Aaron and Arnetta Jr. as well as other members of both their extended families. Val will be sorely missed by many, but his memory will live on in the continued battles for justice for Black and poor America.

Families display signs outside courthouse (l to r) Gabrielle and Dominique Harrison, Oct. 22 protester, Khalid Fareed, Roberto Guzman, unnamed, Gary of Oct. 22nd, Herman Vallery, Cornell Squires, unnamed, daughter of Taminko-Sanford-Tilmon at her left, Jermaine Tilmon, with grandson Omari.

Members of the Original Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality, including Herman Vallery (2nd from left) and Arnetta Grable (6th from left), outside Frank Murphy Hall to demand that Pros. Kym Worthy bring charges against Eugene Brown after the release of the “Shoulders Report” which recommended those charges. Worthy never did so.


Lamar Grable’s family and supporters flew this banner from the site of his murder on Field St. to downtown Detroit’s DPD and court HQ and back on Sept. 21, 2016.


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