Detroit police turned violent, firing tear gas and flash grenades into a peaceful crowd on Sunday


Detroit police deploy tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters flee. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Detroit police deploy tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters flee.

A third day of peaceful protests in downtown Detroit turned violent Sunday evening when overzealous police fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and flash grenades at protesters while they scrambled for safety.

Several journalists were injured and at least one was arrested for trying to document the protest. An MLive photographer was among at least three journalists struck by police pellets or rubber bullets.

“We were just trying to leave the scene,” MLive photographer Nicole Hester told her publication. “We weren’t doing anything. We weren’t charging at them.”

Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald was arrested and eventually let go.

Police turned violent when hundreds of peaceful protesters refused to disperse in defiance of an 8 p.m. curfew outside Detroit Public Safety headquarters. At about 8:30 p.m., police deployed flash grenades and tear gas and then rushed toward protesters as they fled, often pushing them to the ground and arresting them. A young Muslim woman was injured after she said she was struck by a tear gas canister.

For the next three hours, police in riot gear stormed through downtown Detroit, arresting anyone who was outside. Dozens of people were arrested.

Small groups of protesters struck back at police with fireworks and rocks, but they were in the minority.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said Monday morning that it’s not yet clear whether he’ll impose another curfew.

On the second protest Saturday night, two police officers assaulted a protester, pushing him to the ground several times. The video circulated on social media, fueling the anger and outrage.

“We take this very seriously,” Detroit Police Department spokeswoman Nicole Kirkwood told Metro Times on Sunday. “We’ve identified one of the two officers and are working to identify the second officer.”

Police Chief James Craig was seen leaving the protest before police deployed tear gas and flash grenades.

A fourth day of protests is planned for 4 p.m. Monday at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters. A big crowd is expected to turn out.

Metro Times will continue to cover the protests.

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