Detroit Police Who Drove Through Crowd Reacted Appropriately, Chief Says

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has defended the actions of the officers who were filmed driving through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters.

A clip of a Detroit Police vehicle driving through the crowd and accelerating away, throwing some protesters off the hood of the car, went viral after it was posted on social media on Sunday.

The incident occurred after the protesters gathered around the SUV as the march made its way toward Clark Park at around 9:30 p.m.

In a press conference, Craig insisted that the officers inside the car "did the right thing" by quickly trying to get away from the scene after they thought they may have come under fire.

Craig said that before driving away, the patrol vehicle's rear window had been smashed through, with the officers not knowing if it shattered because they were being shot at.

Craig said the violence broke out after "agitation turned into anger" while police tried to move protesters on, with patrol vehicles blocking the main road.

"Anywhere between 25 to 30 protesters surrounded two of our police vehicles.
"And as they did that, the agitation escalated into violent behavior."

Detroit Police Department drove into 10-12 protesters including myself. Multiple people are going to the hospital. #NoJusticeNoPeace #detroitpolice #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTayor #PoliceBrutality

— Activist Ethan Lucas (@DJEazyTwist) June 29, 2020

Craig said some protesters may have used signs they were holding during the protest to hit the patrol car, which could explain the "loud bangs" heard in another video posted of the incident.

As the protesters attempted to block the path of the patrol car, several people from the group of 25 to 30 then started "exhibiting violent behavior" and jumped on the hood of the car, Craig said.

"And you can see in the one video that was on social media, the police car was slowly moving, trying to get through." Craig said at this moment the back window was smashed, reportedly by someone using a skateboard.

"During our investigation, our officers reported once they heard the back window smash, they were not certain that they were not being fired upon.

"So it was important for them to get out of there for their safety and certainly the safety of others."

Craig said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Protest groups have since called for the resignation of Craig and for the officers involved to be fired and possible charges brought forward.

A rally was held by the Detroit Will Breathe group on Monday evening outside the Detroit Police Department's 4th Precinct headquarters over what the group described as Craig's "failure to address incidents of police brutality against protesters."

"This incident illustrates the national call to defund the police, who do more harm than good in black and brown communities," a Facebook event page promoting the protest said.

"The rally and march was a historic display of multigenerational unity between black and brown people that included members of the LGBTQ+ and indigenous communities.

"It was a peaceful event—until the police brought violence."

Detroit Police have been contacted for comment.

Protesters march against police brutality and in memory of George Floyd in Detroit, Michigan, on June 7, 2020. SETH HERALD/AFP/Getty