A video shows a Detroit police vehicle accelerating through a crowd of protesters on Sunday night in Southwest Detroit. Protesters surrounded the stopped vehicle and chanted before the SUV accelerates into the crowd and drives away.
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On Monday morning, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said on Detroit Today that he hadn’t seen the full report on the incident, but defended the intent of the action.
“If you’re sitting in that police car and suddenly you’re blocked, there is a large crowd around you, they’re banging on the door, pulling at the door, climbing onto the car, what are you supposed to do?” Duggan said.
As of Monday morning it’s unclear how many people might have been injured or the extent of those injuries.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig is a statement Monday afternoon defended the officers actions, saying they were attempting to remove themselves from a potentially dangerous situation, reports Deadline Detroit. He said an investigation of officers and demonstrators actions are underway.
In an interview with CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire, demonstration leader Tristan Taylor — who did not witness the incident first-hand — said if police had not been present the rally would have ended peacefully.
“Everything started when the police tried to block the march from continuing down Vernor, and force it down Dix for no reason,” Taylor said. ”Had the police done nothing, the whole rally and march would have been over in 30 minutes with no incident. What [the officer] does is completely unprovoked, I might add, because the other [police] car also didn’t have the same reaction.”
Taylor said this is indicative of a failure of leadership at the department, and called for Chief Craig’s resignation.
“It’s time for him to go,” Taylor said. “This is just one in a string of incidents where it is clear that he runs a very loose, rogue ship.”