MEMORIAL SET FOR MON. JUNE 18, 4-6 P.M. AT SWANSON’S , 806 E. GRAND BLVD. DETROIT
By Diane Bukowski
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.
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.