DETROIT – With police brutality protests continuing in the city, Detroit police are investigating how some officers handled protesters early on.
There have been misconduct complaints and charges are on the horizon within the department.
As calls for changes to the Detroit Police Department stretch into the fourth week, the department is now investigating at least a dozen complaints of misconduct.
MLive reported its staff photographer Nicole Hester was among three journalists hit by pellets fired by Detroit police during a George Floyd protest. The officer who pulled the trigger has been suspended.
Detroit Police District 5 commissioner Willie Burton has been pushing for changes to DPD’s use of force policies.
“The use of force that were applied to innocent protestors, I am outraged as a police commissioner in the city of Detroit,” Burton said.
Burton has called for the ending the use of tear gas and flash bangs, along with curbing the city’s facial recognition program and preventing DPD from buying military equipment from the federal government. He said his proposals have been met with opposition and sometimes laughter.
“We just came from under a 13 year federal consent decree,” Burton said. “With the level of force that we used against innocent protestors, I’m not saying it, I’m not calling it, but if we keep moving in this direction, we could be back in another consent decree.”
In a recent meeting, the police commission did vote to recommend changes to DPD’s use of force policies, including requiring officers to use deescalation tactics, requiring an officer intervene if they witness excessive force and required reporting after an officer threatens to use a weapon.
The practices are only recommendations which still have to be approved.