Merchant, pigs harass black community


Fifth Estate # 61, Sept. 5-18, 1968

Merchants continue to use guns on young people in the Fitzgerald community on Detroit’s Northwest side and are being supported by your local police.

The latest reported incident on August 9th involved the Bollinger Party Store on Fenkell near Greenlawn. The proprietor, Mr. Fedah, on being asked about dispensing stale and shoddy merchandise, pulled a gun, fired a shot, and ordered a delegation of young black people, led by John Hunt, coordinator of a local community supported Teen Drop-In Center, to get out at gun point.

The delegation of six then Called the police, who immediately sided with the white merchant. One officer, badge number 3260, of scout car number 663036 told the proprietor that he wasted a bullet—that, “I would have shot the nigger!”

All of this resulted when John Hunt, on being told by several youngsters that the food at the store was stale and rotten, got five other youths to accompany him to the Bollinger Party Store to see for himself. They conducted themselves politely; but when a youth wrote in the accumulated dust the proprietor started yelling in a foreign language as well as in English to the effect that he didn’t want to talk. Then he ran behind a counter, pulled a gun, and fired.

The Bollinger Party Store may be recognized by the iron grill which covers the front and the guard who stands in the doorway with a revolver prominently displayed to all who pass.

Police continue to harass Fitzgerald’s young black people who associate themselves with the nearly completed Afro-American Restaurant to be called Letta M’Bula. This is a non-profit enterprise to be run cooperatively at Cherrylawn on Puritan.

The police lie in wait across the street and as soon as the youth drive off they are followed and then pulled over. This happens repeatedly as the police search the Volkswagen bus with accompanying remarks such as, “You’re the ones with the ‘black power’ restaurant, eh?” or “You kids may have picketed other places before but wait till you see how we picket your restaurant!”

In the meantime people charge that police are exceedingly slow to answer complaints about real crimes in the Fitzgerald community. There is a widespread feeling that the police are more interested in harassment than in law enforcement.