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Detroit NLG Legal Observer federal lawsuit fund

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On Friday, April 2, 2021, five volunteer Legal Observers for the Detroit & Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Detroit.  Emma Howland-Bolton, Clarissa Grimes, Sara Habbo, Shannon McEvilly, and Marie Reimers were subject to arrest, violence, and injuries at the hands of the Detroit Police Department while legal observing at nonviolent protests throughout the summer of 2020.   

The NLG Detroit & Michigan Chapter is asking for funds to help cover legal costs for the plaintiffs, who are all active, trained Legal Observers and dedicated members of our organization. Court costs can be incredibly expensive, including filing fees, deposition transcripts, and expert witnesses. Additionally, the City of Detroit has been aggressively fighting lawsuits from protestors, even going so far as to file a counterclaim against protestors. Our Legal Observers are all volunteers, and we want to make sure they don’t have to worry about shouldering the legal costs while seeking to hold the Detroit Police Department accountable for its actions. Any money raised in excess of what is needed for the lawsuit will be reallocated to other needs supported by the Detroit & Michigan NLG.    

Here's the video of the April 12  2021 Press Conference  about the lawsuit.

The NLG wholeheartedly supports this civil rights lawsuit filed by our Chapter’s Legal Observers. We are tremendously proud of the actions they have taken to hold the City of Detroit and its police department accountable and ensure that impartial, non-participant Legal Observers may continue the work they’ve done for more than 50 years, ensuring people may exercise their First Amendment rights without unconstitutional interference. 

Plaintiffs are represented by attorney David A. Robinson, a former Detroit police officer who specializes in police misconduct and civil rights. His active litigation in support of the victims of police misconduct helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice to impose a federal consent decree against the Detroit Police Department in 2003 over questionable shootings of civilians by police, deaths of prisoners in police lockups, and dragnet arrests of bystanders at homicide scenes.

The NLG is a national organization of lawyers and legal workers, with a strong and vibrant Detroit-based chapter in Michigan, devoted to the principle that human rights are more sacred than property rights. The NLG has provided legal support to movements for social justice and against racism and all forms of oppression since 1937. The NLG Legal Observer program, established in 1968, is part of a comprehensive system of legal support designed to enable people to express their political views without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and can be found under the name Howland-Bolton, et al. v. City of Detroit et al., case no. 2:21-cv-10751.

Ongoing media coverage can be found below:


  • Molly Savage
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs
  • ryan kassab
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs
  • Susan Yaseen
    • $333 
    • 3 yrs
  • Joseph Lipofsky
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Nina Chacker
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs

Fundraising team (3)

NLG Detroit
Raised $885 from 14 donations
Detroit, MI
Shannon McEvilly
Team member
Raised $1,255 from 13 donations
Sara Habbo
Team member
Raised $25 from 1 donation
This team raised $3,263 from 78 other donations.

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