I won’t be voting today.
Not after a small group of irate voters threatened me with violence and chased me down Cass Avenue in Detroit this afternoon because I had photographed illegal campaign activity in front of my precinct.
I was on my way to vote when campaign volunteers standing a few feet from the precinct entrance were forcing literature on voters. It’s illegal to campaign within 100 feet from the entrance of a precinct, for obvious reasons.
After snapping a quick photo of the campaign violations, a scofflaw and voter quickly became irate and forcibly stopped me from leaving until I deleted the picture. I refused.
“You aren’t leaving until you delete that damn picture,” a male campaign volunteer hollered as he poked his finger at my chest.
The woman shoved me, blurting out wild exaggerations until a crowd had gathered. She said I had assaulted her and was indiscriminately taking photos of voters. Someone suggested I was a Romney supporter.
A man chased me down a sidewalk and across Cass; other men began to gather.
All because of a picture of a campaign violation.
When police finally arrived, they ordered me to delete the photo and suggested I leave the area – where I was supposed to vote – to avoid more problems.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.