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Detroit 1967: 50-year reflection with Ike McKinnon

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July 25, 2017
Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon then and now

The city of Detroit reflects on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Uprising with the recent release of the film, “Detroit.” Professor of Education Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon vividly remembers the tragic events, as he was a young police officer with only two years experience when the city was ravaged. He has been a consultant during the film’s production.

Isaiah McKinnon was 14 years old when he received a severe beating from a Big Four crew, a group of officers who responded to dangerous calls in Detroit, and, according to innumerable accounts, harassed and brutalized African Americans.

“That’s what made me want to become a police officer,” McKinnon said. “Because I said, 'We’ve got to have some police officers who think differently than what those guys did, who’s going to be fair with everyone, regardless of race.' ”

McKinnon’s experiences and determination drove him to become the police chief and deputy mayor in Detroit, now retired. Today, he is dedicated to the “We Need Great Teachers” campaign at Detroit Mercy, a program with Detroit Public Schools that works to attract minority students to pursue a career in education.

See below for media coverage and features of McKinnon, discussing his city during 1967, and where it stands today.

— By Timmy Nelson. Follow Detroit Mercy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Media Coverage

"‘Detroit’ movie highlights where the city went wrong — and how it can go forward"
The Detroit Hub, July 25

"Future chief faced racism head-on in 1967"
The Detroit News, July 19

"This is what it was like to be a young, black police officer in Detroit"
Michigan Radio, July 18

"Stephen Henderson: How to rebuild Detroit? One block at a time"
Detroit Free Press, July 22

"50 years after uprising, police work to build trust"
The Detroit News, July 20

"Ike McKinnon's promise – 10 years before the riots"
WJBK, July 21

"A 'Michigan Matters' Look At Detroit 1967 The Past, Present And Future Of Our Region"
CBS Detroit, July 21

"Henderson: Understanding 1967 unrest can move Detroit forward"
Detroit Free Press, July 20

CBS Reports on the '67 Riot, Ike McKinnon and the 'Detroit’ Film (Video)
Deadline Detroit, July 20

"Movie made in Brockton focuses on infamous Algiers Motel incident"
Enterprise News, July 3

"Before '67 riot, Detroit thought it could avoid civil unrest"
Detroit Free Press, July 15

"'You're going to die tonight': Detroiters recall smoke, soldiers and..."
CBC CA, July 23

"Fmr. Police Chief Ike McKinnon looks back 50 years after Detroit Riots"
WXYZ-TV Channel 7, May 30

"Review: Matrix's 'Dream Deferred' revisits 1967 Detroit"
Detroit Free Press, June 14

"Detroit riot movie draws huge crowd, sparks conversation"
Detroit Free Press, March 30

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