BlackFacts Details

Algiers Motel Incident (1967)

The Algiers Motel Incident occurred in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1967, two days after the Detroit Race Riot began. The incident started when Army National Guardsman Ted Thomas reported hearing gunshots at the Algiers Motel Annex. Detroit Police, Michigan State Police, and other National Guardsmen came to the scene to find what they thought was a sniper. Three young black men, Carl Cooper, Michael Clark, and Lee Forsythe, were in a room in the motel, listening to music with two white women from Ohio, Juli Hysell and Karen Molloy, when Cooper fired a starter pistol shooting blanks out the window. When authorities thought they were under sniper attack, they returned fire.

Detroit Police, State Police, and National Guard members rush into the motel annex to locate the sniper.  According to later testimony, Detroit police officers most likely shot and killed Cooper who ran downstairs with his pistol when they entered the building.  Detroit police later would claim that they found Cooper already dead in a first-floor room when they entered the building.  No one was ever charged with the death of Carl Cooper, the youngest victim, who was 17.

Clark, Forsythe, Hysell and Molloy, and other guests including 19-year-old Aubrey Pollard, a 26-year-old Vietnam veteran Robert Greene, 18-year-old Larry Reed, lead singer for the Rhythm and Blues group the Dramatics, and band road manager, 18-year-old Fred Temple, were rounded up by Detroit police officers and faced against a downstairs hall wall.  Hysell and Molloy were pulled out of the lineup and stripped naked.  At some point Melvin Dismukes, a black security guard for a nearby store, entered the annex while the police held the guests against the wall.

The next youth to be killed, Pollard, was shot and killed by officer Ronald August after he took him into Annex Room A-3.  August later admitted to the killing but claimed it was in self-defense. The third person to die, Temple, was shot by Detroit Police Officer Robert Paille who also claimed he killed him in

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