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Detroit church selling magic mushrooms faces vandalism amid legal battle

Detroit church selling magic mushrooms faces vandalism amid legal battle
Detroit church selling magic mushrooms faces vandalism amid legal battle 02:49

(CBS DETROIT) – Padlocks apparently didn't stop vandals from breaking into a northwest Detroit church that was selling magic mushrooms.

On Friday morning, the head of Soul Tribes Ministries, Robert Shumake "Shaman Shu,"  showed the Commanding Officer of Detroit Police Department's 8th precinct, Dietrich Lever, damage that was allegedly done while the property was supposed to be under lock and key by the City of Detroit. 

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

"They took the copper off the roof. They took the Sloane valves out of the toilet and left the water running, so I don't know how long it had been running; if it was a week or two weeks, I have no idea what took place, but there's three feet of water," Shu said.

Soul Tribes Ministries operates out of the Bushnell Congregational Church on Southfield Road.

This week, Shu set foot into church for the first time since Detroit Police raided the church in September, saying they broke state laws for selling psychedelic drugs even though Detroit voters de-criminalized it in 2021.

"I've only done it once. Not that I would never do it again, because my experience was very calming and relaxing, and it was very enlightening. It was not a crazy, uncontrolled experience at all," Metari Harris, who tried psilocybin during a service at the church, said.

Shu is suing the City of Detroit for their decision to shut them down. Last month, he filed the case in federal court, saying the move violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

"Because there's shops all over the city that are selling mushrooms, not sacred plants. And so they're selling them without a license, and it's actually against Proposal E's licensing. Those shops haven't been bothered at all, but because we're talking about healing people in the confines of a spiritual process, that's considered wrong because that's what you call religious discrimination," Shu said. 

Detroit Police showed up again on Friday to let Shu know he cannot access the property while his lawsuit against the city makes its way through the courts, but did allow Shu to clean up the damage.

"We have an injunction for the building; they're allowing access for you to go ahead and secure your building because you're telling me you're having problems,'" Lever said.

"I'm not mad at these police officers; they're doing their job from the higher-ups. So what is that really about? You don't like what we're doing here? Because you don't like the color of my skin?" Shu wondered.

In response, the City of Detroit issued this Statement from Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett:

"Whether he understood it or not, Mr. Shumake's decision to remove the padlock and enter this building was in violation of a standing court order. The moment his attorneys sought a change in venue from state court to federal court, they froze in place the order to padlock the building until such time federal court decides whether to assume jurisdiction or to have the case remain at the state court level.  During this time of consideration by the federal court, all orders put in place by the state court remain in place until the question of jurisdiction is answered.

The city has, however, granted Mr. Shumake and his representatives temporary access to the building until later this afternoon to address any immediate concerns before the building is padlocked again, pursuant to the court order.

We maintain that all enforcement actions by representatives of the City were constitutional and justified under the law. We will vigorously defend against the outrageous claims against the city being made by Soul Tribes Ministries in the appropriate venue, which will be in court, whether that is state or federal."

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