Video: Violence nearly breaks out at Detroit voting precinct over photo

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

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.

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  • Youre Stupid

    Whats your dumbass taking pictures for anyway?

    • Steve Neavling

      Just documenting election abuses. If election laws aren’t enforced, our democracy is compromised.

  • Well, you could vote absentee for all elections. But I doubt you’ll have a problem next time. Especially because the polls for primary and off-year elections are all but abandoned. By the time four years comes around you should be alright.

    I guess next time you should vote first before taking pictures… or get one of those wearable cameras that are always recording so you’re less conspicuous.

    A shame the police were more interested in destroying your evidence than upholding the law.

  • Interesting. It seems when you are white, the cops handle it that way. we had an incident on the west side with a neighbor, claiming we had a cross in our back yard (it was an ancient clothes line) and all sorts of craziness… the cops solution? Move! Not like we didn’t have the right to live there… She trespassed, attacked my mother and I, and their remedy was for us to move. Nice eh? BTW I love the vocals of the girls telling the lady who said you hit her that she was lying. Crying shame.

  • What!!!???? I hope you got their badge numbers and the poll employees names , you need to sue!

    • Steve Neavling

      Unfortunately I did not. The police were being ridiculous. They demanded I delete the photos and did nothing to help me vote. The police seemed bothered that they had to deal with it, and one officer said he would have let the mob attack me if it were 10 years ago.

  • Annemb

    Boy, that had to feel sickening. Sorry that happened to you.

  • Dante’ A. Carter

    I hate to hear that happen to you Brother!…