Demonstrators Claim Assault Went Unpunished at Dearborn's Arab International Festival
Video released this week by the Bible Believers shows several members of the group being hit with various items, and some claim arrests should have been made.
A video from Dearborn's Arab International Festival is making the rounds online this week, and some are saying it's a clear sign that assault took place and went unpunished by Wayne County officers.
Originally posted to YouTube by a group known as Itching Ears Ministry, the video shows raw footage taken at the festival during a protest by the Bible Believers. In the video, numerous attendees at the festival are shown shouting obscenities and throwing various items at the protesters–including water bottles, Frisbees, eggs and even milk crates.
Members of the group are heard mentioning being hit by several of the items. One man even says he was hit in the head by a "piece of concrete."
The Wayne County Sheriff's Department, which oversaw security at the festival, did issue tickets to one adult and six youth for disturbing the peace on the first day of the festival while the protest was occurring.
But according to the department, no arrests were made.
"While two individuals were going to be charged with assault and battery on Friday, we could not locate the potential complainants so those cases were then classified as disturbing the peace," the department said in a statement. "No injuries were reported nor were there requests for medical assistance during the incident in question."
An additional, unrelated citation for disturbing the peace was issued on Sunday.
"The rest of the weekend was peaceful," the department said.
Still, some supporters of the Bible Believers said that police did not adequately protect the protesters.
A number of anti-Islam blogs have reposted the video and called for a lawsuit against the city of Dearborn and Wayne County.
"The bottom line is Mr. Ruben Israel and his friends were viciously attacked by an angry mob and the (Wayne County Sheriff's Department) watched it happen," wrote Alan Kornman on the site The United West.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Department saw it differently, placing blame on the protesters for inciting the altercation.
"While Sheriff Napoleon respects everyone’s right to freedom of speech, it’s unfortunate that some have chosen to exploit and taint what was to be a peaceful, community event," the department said.
The Bible Believers told Dearborn Patch in early June that if police did not protect them adequately at the festival, they would file a lawsuit. However, no such suit has been filed.
The department said it will investigate the incident further to "identify individuals seen on camera hurling items."
But "with no complaints filed alleging illegal activities, the effort to prosecute alleged offenders on the YouTube video will be difficult."