Block parties in Detroit must be approved by the city; here's how it works

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 09, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Three people were killed and two dozen others were injured at separate block parties in Detroit between Thursday and Sunday.

There is nothing wrong with having a block party. But, when you don’t get permission from your local authorities, things can go wrong.

“You have to have approval,” according to Sheilah Hannah, president of the Annchester Road Block Club. “They approve the area or approve the block club party.”

Hannah has been the president of her neighborhood block club for years. She has extensive knowledge in planning the street’s annual block parties, and part of that is getting approval from the police department.

“The proper way is you have to go to the police station and get an application,” she said. “And then you go to each neighbor on your block and get their signatures.”

VIDEO: Community activists speak about the weekend violence

WATCH: Community activist speaks after Fourth of July weekend violence after three dead, 24 injured at block parties

The applications are free.

Barren Coleman is a neighborhood police officer with the Detroit Police Department. He said the officers in his unit are the ones who oversee these types of events.

Sadly over the weekend, 21 people were shot at one of the block parties, which was unauthorized, on the east side of Detroit. As a result, two of the victims died.

Video below shows when gun shots started. WARNING: the video may be disturbing for some.

Surveillance video shows moments shots ring out at Detroit block party

Detroit Police Chief White said this is not an isolated incident. “Pop-up parties” is how he describes non-sanctioned block parties.

“Since July 4th, the city has experienced six separate shooting incidents totaling 27 victims at block parties… these pop-up, large scale block parties,” White said.

VIDEO: Shootings at illegal block parties across Detroit over July 4 weekend left 3 dead, 24 injured

WATCH: DPD Chief James White speaks on Fourth of July weekend violence at block parties

Coleman says this type of violence is not what the department wants to see happen in Detroit.

“My prayers go out to those who were shot, those who were injured. Truly, that’s not what we want to see happen,” he said. “We want to see people have a good time in Detroit.

Barren Coleman Detroit police

Hannah says her street has been having block club parties since 2016 and they haven’t had any problems. During the parties, she says police presence is always visible.

“Throughout the block club festivities, they (police) kind of cruise through and just make sure everything is going OK,” she said. “I have a number to call and get in touch with someone if any problems or situations go on.”

More information about hosting a block party in Detroit can be found on the city's wesbite.