DETROIT – Detroit police Chief James Craig said it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his career when two groups of undercover officers got into an altercation while converging on the same drug house.
The two special operations units from two precincts clashed Thursday when they both searched a suspected drug house in the 19000 block of Andover Street, near 7 Mile Road, on the border of the 11th and 12th precincts.
Local 4 has obtained body camera footage of the melee, which you can watch in the video posted above. The video shows a few minutes of utter and total chaos.
There was a lot of pushing, shoving and arguing as the officers from both precincts tried to figure out who was who. In the video, someone says, "We have a search warrant," which led to the problem.
The crew from the 12th Precinct didn't have one and didn't tell anyone they would be at the house.
Just when things started to calm down, an all-out brawl broke out as officers started swinging. In the video, the officer's body camera gets knocked to the floor.
In the end, it wasn't just a black eye for some of the officers in the melee, it was a black eye for the Detroit Police Department.
A few officers have been reassigned because of the incident, and the investigation isn't over. The video suggests it could take awhile to truly figure out what went on.
According to Craig, two undercover Detroit officers from the 12th Precinct were taken outside the home and ordered to the ground by police. A shotgun was apparently aimed at the suspects.
There was also confusion inside the home, as arguments turned into a physical fight. One police officer put another in a head lock, and punches were thrown between officers.
"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."
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 a lack of maturity and poor communication led to the incident.
Protocols for operating in other precincts were put in place in 1986 when 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 killed.