Detroit police Chief James Craig informed the people of his city that his officers have not used force against anyone who is demonstrating peacefully, but says that they won’t hesitate to do what needs to be done when protesters get violent.
Craig made his comments on Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends in an interview prompted by a federal judge’s order to ban tear gas, batons, and other means of force for the next two weeks.
“Someone has to step up and just simply say this must stop,” Craig said Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Michelson granted a temporary restraining order Friday to Detroit Will Breathe according to Fox News. The group sued the city over what they claimed was excessive force used by police in response to protests that turned violent.
According to Craig, however, their suit is an effort to change the narrative of what really took place in his city.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re left if you’re right, what the issues are. They have an agenda,” the chief said, reacting to the judge’s order. He also informed viewers that in the last 100 days of protests in his city, the force has been used six times on demonstrators who have turned violent and/or resisted arrest.
“The first three days, the second time when they attacked our vehicles,” he said, “And then when they wanted to set up a Seattle-type zone and they refused to be arrested. And then resisted arrest. So, yes, force was used, but just that force that was necessary.”
Craig was clear that the use of force was well within the officers’ rights as law enforcement:
“When you resist, and there is video that supports our claim, I mean, you can see in the video where protesters are literally grabbing on officers so they can free their comrades from being arrested. That’s not peaceful,” Craig added. “That’s resisting a lawful arrest. The judge also includes arrests must be made on probable cause. That’s exactly what we were doing, and so, I’m confident we’re going to continue to move forward.”
The police chief reminded viewers that law enforcement has found themselves in situations that haven’t been seen by most officers within their entire careers.
Show co-host Will Cain asked if he wished that he had used the policing models used by Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington.
“Not for James Craig. That is not the model,” the chief emphatically said. “When you … allow protests that cause you to retreat from a police station. When you allow people to take over six city blocks and then they are shooting, violent acts, rapes and murder and the police are not allowed to go in and do a proper investigation, oh, that’s not the model I follow. We’re very different here in Detroit.”
Craig and the city of Detroit have faced their fair share of protests since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May, 25. Floyd’s death triggered nationwide protests and the exponential growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the chief was quick to point out that the large majority of the protests seen in Detroit have been without incident.
“There have been some days and our position is simple: Detroiters don’t want it and it must stop and I’m not afraid to stand up and say it,” Craig added.
The Michigan city is fortunate enough to have a police chief that isn’t afraid to keep protesters in check, should they decide to turn their demonstrations violent. That is an asset that many across the nation cannot claim to have.