DPD Chief Craig accuses protesters of trying to set up 'Seattle-type zone of lawlessness' in Detroit

by

comment
Police clashed with protesters on Woodward on Sunday morning. - ADAM J. DEWEY
  • Adam J. Dewey
  • Police clashed with protesters on Woodward on Sunday morning.

Detroit Police James Craig on Monday defended his officers’ handling of protesters over the weekend, saying demonstrators were trying to set up a protest zone like the one in Seattle.

“I am not going to let any group set up a Seattle-type zone of lawlessness here in the city of Detroit,” Craig told reporters. “That is non-negotiable.”



Police have come under fire after videos showed cops shoving protesters to the ground and striking some of them with batons early Sunday morning. At least five protesters were sent to the hospital with injuries ranging from broken bones to a collapsed lung.

Craig said the department is investigating allegations of excessive force.



Craig said the protest group Detroit Will Breathe pledged on social media to occupy a section of Woodward in downtown until federal agents, who had recently been deployed to Detroit as part of a law enforcement initiative called “Operation Legend,” left the city.

“We aren’t leaving until the feds leave,” Detroit Will Breathe said in a press release.

Deputy Chief Todd Bettison delivered a blunt, if not anti-democratic, message to the protesters: “Detroit Will Breathe, you are not welcome. Go. It’s just not working.”

Craig and Bettison continued to push the narrative that Detroiters – and local activists – don’t support the protests. Truth is, the protests are organized by Detroit activists.

Of the 44 protesters arrested Sunday morning, 16 were from Detroit. All but one of the protesters were released. The one who remains in custody is accused of inciting a riot and wearing body armor while in the commission of a crime.

Asked about police arresting a journalist again, Craig advised reporters to leave the scene of a protest when officers demand that everyone disperses.

“We’re saying you should leave,” Craig said.

State Sen. Stephanie Chang and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib are calling for an investigation into the department’s handling of the protest.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.