Detroit police chief on botched drug raid: 'One of the most disappointing experiences of my career'

Officers allegedly threw punches at each other during raid

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DETROIT – Police Chief James Craig held a news conference Monday to discuss a recent altercation between officers when a drug raid was conducted at a house full of undercover officers calling it one the most disappointing experiences in his entire career.

Officers with the 11th Precinct obtained a search warrant for a suspected drug house in the 19000 block of Andover Street, near 7 Mile Road, on the border of the 11th and 12th precincts. The warrant was executed Thursday night.

Two men were secured outside the home. They were ordered to the ground and allegedly a shotgun was aimed at the suspects. 

The suspects turned out to be undercover Detroit officers from the 12th Precinct. 

“This is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department since I was appointed chief,” Craig said. “This is something that should not have happened.”

The confusion continued inside the home where a dispute ensued. Arguing led to pushing and shoving, until one officer put another in a head lock, and punches were thrown between officers. 

One officer suffered a contusion to his eye socket and another suffered a split lip. Both were treated and released. They were put on restricted duty.

Craig said the altercation was due to a lack of maturity and a lack of communication. 

A supervisor with the 11th Precinct was taken off special ops. Craig said the 12th Precinct should have been notified about the operation and that the supervisor didn’t have control of the situation.

A number of protocols for operating in other precincts were put in place in 1986 after two undercover Detroit officers were shot and killed by uniformed officers.

Officer Mark Radden and his partner were in plainclothes performing a drug raid on Feb. 5, 1986, when Officer Jack Buffa and his partner, also in plainclothes, responded to the same home on reports of a shooting. The officers exchanged fire. Both Radden and Buffa were fatally wounded.

Craig said an investigation is underway.

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