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Protesters call for answers, justice in Renisha McBride's death

Renisha McBride.
Family photo

Questions persist - and outrage is growing - over the death of a young unarmed Detroit woman in a suburban community.

Renisha McBride was shot to death on the porch of a Dearborn Heights home last weekend.

The circumstances surrounding her death remain murky. The man who killed her reportedly told police he thought McBride was breaking into his home, and he shot her accidentally.

The man has not been arrested or even identified.

McBride's family says she was involved in a single car accident and her cell phone battery was dead. They say she went to the house looking for assistance.

McBride’s death has drawn comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case, and has sparked similar outrage. Protesters called for “justice for Renisha” outside Dearborn Heights police headquarters Thursday.

“At the bottom of this story, is a dead 19-year-old,” said Dream Hampton, who helped organize the protest. ”And that’s a tragedy. We have to continue to be shocked by this. Our humanity is at stake.”

The protesters upped the pressure on police and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy to arrest and charge the man responsible.

“She was shot in her face for standing on somebody’s porch,” said Tawana Petty. “That’s wrong. And people need to be pissed off about it.”

Dearborn Heights police had requested an arrest warrant from Worthy’s office, but the office turned back that request.

“We have asked that further investigation be conducted by the police in this case,” a statement from Worthy’s office read. “We will not be able to make a charging decision until the requested work has been completed.”

In the meantime, McBride’s family released a statement Thursdaycalling for “peace and justice as we challenge the system to arrest and try the alleged assailant for this horrific act.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to explain why McBride was on the porch to begin with.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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