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Howell protest, largely peaceful, sees physical altercation between protester and heckler

Tracy Samilton

About 150 people turned out in the city of Howell for a protest against police killings of black Americans Thursday.

That's despite being urged by Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy not to show up. 

On his Facebook page, Murphy said rumors that he had invited open-carry gun advocates to the protest were not true, and that he had asked those groups not to come and counter protest.  

The rally was largely peaceful. One man, who refused to identify himself to reporters, walked up and down the line of protesters, holding up his middle finger to each one. Organizers intervened when one of the protesters began to get into an argument with him.

Some people heckled the protesters as they drove by. But several hundred more beeped their horns in support during the nearly five-hour rally, some flashing the peace sign through an open window.  

At around 7:15 p.m., another protester hit a heckler on the sidelines. The heckler was not injured, and police let the protester go with a warning and lecture.

Organizers asked everyone to leave after the incident, and they complied.

Nearly all of the protesters were white. 

Decades ago, Howell was known for its connection to the KKK

That's due to a white supremicist by the name of Robert Miles who held KKK gatherings on his farm that was located just north of the city.

Some protesters said Howell is still a racist city.  

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.