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Benton Harbor residents reflect on civil unrest

The clashes in Ferguson hit close to home for residents in Benton Harbor who witnessed the civil unrest over a decade ago.

In 2003 Terrance Shurn was killed during a police pursuit in Benton Harbor. His uncle was a commissioner for 26 years. He said the event rocked their community.  

Ralph Crenshaw said, “And of course it was devastating to our family. After that there was some changes, but not enough. Never enough.”

Crenshaw said there was very little progress that followed after citizens burned cars and vandalized various businesses across the city.

Crenshaw said, “My thing was not to use the riots as an opportunity to destroy or devastate the community but use it as the opportunity to bring about change.”  

He said Benton Harbor declared a state of emergency, and hundreds of law enforcement officers were sent in by the state of Michigan to control the chaos.

Crenshaw said, “My thing was not to use the riots as an opportunity to destroy or devastate the community but use it as the opportunity to bring about change.”

Crenshaw said citizens in Benton Harbor can relate to the disorder in Ferguson, Missouri.

 Crenshaw said, “I think some of that's still evidence. If you look across the country, you still see some signs where there isn't true justice and equal justice for everybody in this country. And i think that's the thing that we need to continue to work and continue to strive and improve upon for all of our sakes.”
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