FBI Conduct Sparks Protest at Federal Building in Detroit

FBI Conduct Sparks Protest at Federal Building in Detroit
Organizers of a protest against the politicization of the FBI in Detroit, Mich. on June 3, 2023. (Steven Kovac/Epoch Times)
Steven Kovac

A small but vocal group of demonstrators gathered on June 3 outside the Detroit office of the FBI to demand the firing of Christopher Wray, the bureau’s director.

“Wray must be fired, and the FBI must be decentralized and moved out of Washington, D.C.,” protest organizer and Trump supporter Brian Pannebecker said. “As long as the FBI and DOJ [Department of Justice] continue to illegally withhold subpoenaed evidence from Congress, we will continue to fight.”

Wray was nominated by then-President Donald Trump to succeed FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired in the summer of 2017.

When asked about that by The Epoch Times, Pannebecker said: “Yeah, Trump made some really bad appointments. He’ll know better in his next term.”

Suppressing Potential Evidence

Pannebecker, a U.S. Army veteran with a son currently serving in the Army National Guard in the Middle East, said he's outraged by what he sees as the FBI's protecting President Joe Biden by suppressing potentially incriminating evidence that allegedly links Biden to an international influence peddling scheme.

“We are here today in the hope of awakening the people of Detroit, who are the victims of so much crime and violence, to the need to be rid of Wray and replace him with someone who will work for them,” he said.

“I’m here because our government is completely corrupted," Dana Coyne told The Epoch Times. "We are not a government of the people anymore.

“We are a country run by globalists who do not love America and who disrespect the sovereignty of the United States.”

John Zupanc of Macomb County said he came to downtown Detroit on a Saturday because he believes the government “is crooked and corrupt and must be held accountable.”

Wray’s Offer

Facing a contempt of Congress citation, Wray announced on June 2 that he would permit a piece of evidence subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee to be viewed only by Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Democratic Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

Wray’s move on the eve of the protest did nothing to appease the demonstrators.

“At this point, does anybody trust Wray to follow through? He has a history of stonewalling and then finally producing documents requested by Congress that are near totally redacted,” Pannebecker said.

“I feel there is a two-tiered system of justice in this country. There should not be one set of rules for the favored few and different rules for the rest of us. Government should do the right thing,” said demonstrator Angelic Johnson, of the group Faith, Education, and Commerce United of Michigan (FEC).

Protester Elisa Wagner said: “Today, our government is doing exactly what our Founding Fathers warned us about. We are living in a tyrannical time.

“All Americans must do their due diligence to protect our constitutional rights. That’s why I’m here.”

Differing Opinions

Trump flags and “Fire Wray” picket signs in the Federal Building Plaza provoked responses from passing cars, with some honking and shouting, “Go Trump!” while others yelled obscenities and “Lock him up!”

The demonstration also caught the attention of passing pedestrians.

One who stopped to listen to the speakers said, “I saw the Trump flags and knew something good must be happening, so I walked over to see what was going on.”

One cyclist who stopped briefly to check out the protest noted the small crowd.

"I can’t believe Trump has even that many supporters in the city of Detroit.”

 Protest organizer Brian Pannebecker addresses demonstrators at the federal building in Detroit on June 3, 2023. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)
Protest organizer Brian Pannebecker addresses demonstrators at the federal building in Detroit on June 3, 2023. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

FEC Director Lisha Kilgus, an organizer of the protest, told those in attendance: “The world has gone mad. The authorities who are supposed to be upholding the law are not following the laws. We demand transparency and accountability.”

“Congress must act quickly to root out the arrogant, entrenched, criminally compromised leaders of the FBI," Kilgus added.

"Christopher Wray must go. We are praying for our nation because God is the only one who can intervene and bring to pass the miracles that we need. We pray that God would raise up good leaders who will obey the law and do the right thing.”

Protect the Whistleblowers

Pannebecker and Kilgus called the FBI whistleblowers who have come forward to expose alleged official misconduct at the highest levels of the bureau “patriots” and “heroes.”

“These FBI agents who are upholding their oath of office and serving admirably deserve whistleblower protection. We are praying for them and their families," Kilgus said.

“More of our people need to have the courage to stand up and ‘stand in the gap,’ as the Bible says. Our rights come from God, not the government.”

Pannebecker said the whistleblowers are willing to take a great personal risk and make huge sacrifices by coming forward, and it's the least that people can do to come out and support them.

Protests will continue periodically throughout the summer at the federal building in Detroit, he said.

Steven Kovac reports for The Epoch Times from Michigan. He is a general news reporter who has covered topics related to rising consumer prices to election security issues. He can be reached at [email protected]