Algiers Motel, Detroit

The Algiers Motel incident occurred in Detroit, Michigan, United States, throughout the night of July 25–26, 1967.

On that warm, humid night, the establishment was hosting a party for several veterans, including two servicemen recently returned from the Vietnam War, and the bar’s patrons were reluctant to leave the air-conditioned club. Out in the street, a crowd began to gather as police waited for vehicles to take the 85 patrons away.

An hour passed before the last person was taken away, and by then about 200 onlookers lined the street. A bottle crashed into the street. The remaining police ignored it, but then more bottles were thrown, including one through the window of a patrol car. The police fled as a small riot erupted. Within an hour, thousands of people had spilled out onto the street from nearby buildings.

At the Algiers Motel, approximately one mile east of where a riot began, three african american men were killed and nine others abused by a riot task force composed of the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the Michigan Army National Guard. Among the casualties were three black teenage boys killed, and two white women and seven black men wounded as a result. The task force was searching the area after reports were received that a gunman or group of gunmen, possibly snipers, had been seen at or near the motel.

One death has never been explained as the body was allegedly found by responding officers. Two deaths have been attributed to “justifiable homicide” or “self-defense”. Charges of felonious assault, conspiracy, murder, and conspiracy to commit civil rights abuse were filed against three officers. Charges of assault and conspiracy were also filed on a private security guard. All were found not guilty.

The incident is depicted in a 2017 film Detroit made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of what happened at the Algiers Motel and which is currently available free on demand on SBS @

Algiers Motel incident @