Detroit Police Chief Craig says he's no 'Sambo'

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Detroit Police Chief James Craig. - SCREENSHOT FROM DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE LIVESTREAM
  • Screenshot from Detroit Police Department press conference livestream
  • Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig fired back at a black activist group for giving him and another city official “Sambo Awards.”

The "Call ‘Em Out Coalition" issued the annual awards Thursday to Craig and Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Gary Brown, who has overseen water shutoffs for tens of thousands of Detroiters.



The group’s president, African American activist Agnes Hitchcock, said the police department has become increasingly white under Craig's leadership because he's failed to recruit enough black officers.

Craig also has been criticized for quickly dismissing an internal investigation that found racism in the department.



“Sambo” has a long history as a racial slur, which Craig described as “step it and fetch it, overly apologetic to whites.”

“I’m not going to be quiet about it,” Craig during a 10-minute press conference at the police headquarters. “It’s hurtful. It’s insensitive.”

Craig defended his recruitment efforts.

“We work extremely hard in this police department to recruit Detroiters and African Americans,” Craig said.


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