Interview with Herb Boyd

OK, Herb. How did the police relate to the Black community when you lived in Detroit in the early sixties up to 1967?


Well community relations with the police at that time was very bad. But that wasn't unusual. It had been bad for many years. I'd grown up at the time when the big four was like the force that came in the community. They had pretty much toned down that and turned in to more or less like patrol officers periodically through neighborhoods and randomly accosting people. Slamming you up against the wall. Making you show identification. If you looked at all suspicious then you were a prime target for the police at that time. We had a feeling that it was like a occupied army that was a Garrison city. It was incident after incident all across the city. I mean police brutality was rampant at that time. In lower East side it was a couple of incidents in June la--early July. There was a police brutality case on the West side of Detroit. So all of this was in the air by the time the rebellion was in the wind.