Detroit Breathe protesters make noise at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Detroit Golf Club was not calm on Sunday.

The first three days of the PGA Tour Classic Rocket Mortgage, played without spectators, was so quiet that third-round leader Matthew Wolff could hear an ice cream truck playing in the distance.

Detroit Breathe protesters sing Black Lives Matter during round four of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament outside the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on Sunday, July 5, 2020.

Just before 3:00 p.m. Sunday, noise levels at the tournament increased as 75 “Detroit Will Breathe” protesters showed up outside the main gates of the clubhouse, which is near the ninth green and the 10th tee box.

Protesters brought in megaphones to protest an “exclusive event” that shows how Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration “bend over backwards for billionaires,” alluding to Dan Gilbert – the owner of Rock Ventures, Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Gilbert and his affiliates largely funded private security and surveillance in downtown Detroit,” the protest organization posted on Instagram. “They also make significant donations to DPD through the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.”

Jae Bass, 24, a resident of Detroit, led the group of protesters. It was involved in an altercation with a police vehicle last week in southwest Detroit. Main Detroit organizers Will Breathe, Tristan Taylor and Nakia-Renne Wallace, were in attendance.

“They could hear the crowd on CBS,” Taylor said on Instagram, “So we did what we had to do.”

[ Meet Mark Douglas, Detroit Golf Club’s third Black president in 121 years ]

Protesters gathered at 2 p.m. at the Palmer Park Community Building, walked to the golf course and shouted at Duggan, Gilbert and Detroit Police Chief James Craig. There were two armored police vehicles near the entrance to the golf club on Sunday, similar to those on the first three nights of downtown protests.

The appearance of demonstrators is not a surprise. It’s a walk that “Detroit Will Breathe” has been planning for weeks.

None of the protesters entered the Detroit Golf Club; metal barricades block the entrance, but someone has hung up a sign so golfers can see from a distance.

The protesters left at 4 p.m.

At last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, about 45 protesters gathered outside the course to protest against labor disputes.

Free Press photographer Junfu Han contributed to this report.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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