DETROIT (WWJ) – Traffic was slowed almost to a halt along I-94 Monday morning as part of protests over the governor’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager for Detroit.
Flying over the scene in Chopper 950, WWJ’s Bill Szumanski said three cars were traveling very slowly, less than 5 miles per-hour, causing massive backups on the eastbound side of I-94 near the M-10 interchange.
Szumanski said two Michigan State Police cruisers arrived on the scene. “Both of them did a little sideways — almost a Jim Rockford kind of thing — blocked all lanes. They got out; they started talking to the occupants of the vehicle,” Szumanski said. “Then, one of the vehicles actually drove around and got away. They didn’t chase him, but they moved the other two cars off to the right side.”
Talking to WWJ’s Charlie Langton, one of the participants of Monday morning’s freeway protest called it a “freedom flash mob.” Pastor D. Alexander Bullock, who was in one of those cars, said they want to bring awareness to the struggle Detroiters are facing as they await an EFM.
Bullock and another man were cuffed and sat for a short time in the back of a squad car before they were released.
State police said there were no arrests and no tickets were written at the scene, but they would continue to investigate the incident.
The issue surrounding who’s going to take charge of helping Detroit climb out of its multi-million-dollar budget deficit enters another phase this week.
The governor will be listening when city council members present their case on Tuesday against the appointment of an emergency financial manager. The council also has a legal option: If council members don’t like what the governor concludes, they can take their case to the courts.
Meantime, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, is continuing to offer support to an emergency financial manager, whoever that may be.
The mayor posted on Twitter Monday morning, “An emergency manager can’t come in here and run this city without the help and support of teammates, I’ll be a teammate. My executive staff will be a teammate. What we need to figure out is not fighting the person but how do we get along to make wins for the citizens in the city of Detroit.”
The Mayor has already said he doesn’t support the city council’s planned appeal.
Detroit is billions of dollars in debt and has a budget deficit topping $300 million. It also has long-term debt topping $14 billion and has had trouble in recent months making payroll and paying other bills.