Protesters march on Detroit Police 12th Precinct following deadly shooting

Video shows Hakim Littleton fire at DPD officer before being shot

Protests broke out across Detroit after 20-year-old Hakim Littleton was shot and killed just after 12:30 p.m. by police. An angry crowd gathered and marched on the 12th Precinct after rumors of Detroit police gunning down an unarmed man spread like wildfire.

DETROIT – An angry crowd gathered and marched Friday on the 12th Precinct after rumors of Detroit police gunning down an unarmed man spread like wildfire.

Then police deployed tear gas. Many of the canisters were thrown back at police, who retreated from the scene.

That evening, police chief James Craig released video that showed Hakim Littleton fire on officers first.

The full press conference can be seen here.

During the protests, video captured multiple items and objects thrown at officers in riot gear and several people were arrested.

One witness said police kept trying to instigate the protest.

Then police deployed tear gas. Many of the canisters were thrown back at police, who retreated from the scene.

From there, the group would march down West McNichols Road throughout the city, stopping traffic on major streets like Woodward and Livernois avenues and Seven Mile Road.

Eventually the rally would come to a halt at Detroit Police Department’s 12th Precinct, where protesters came face-to-face with a much larger group of police -- however, this interaction was much more peaceful.

Eventually the march would end at that same intersection where the turmoil originated.

Even after the video revealed the final moments of Littleton’s life, many believed his death was unjustified and a nonlethal means should have been used to take him into custody.

The Detroit Branch of the NAACP released the following statement regarding Littleton’s death.

“Today’s shooting incident involving the tragic death of young Mr. Hakim Littleton by a Detroit Police officer is indeed heartbreaking. Our prayers go out to his family and friends. We are also very pleased that none of the officers involved in the incident were seriously injured nor did it result in a fatality among their ranks. Our prayers go out to all involved. This situation in the city of Detroit clearly demonstrates the tremendous value of bodycams and dash cameras used by police departments across the nation. These devices help to identify and recapture the very crucial visual data needed for evaluation and assessments in these critical situations. It is vitally important that evidence is gathered, and communication is made as rapidly as possible by law enforcement officials. This kind of rapid and clear communication to the community helps to both dispel and explain situations that could possibly lead to deep division and even conflict. Thankfully, this method was used by the Detroit Police Department and Chief James Craig in the incident on Detroit’s northwest side from Six Mile and San Juan.

This is a very challenging time in the history of police and community relations throughout our nation. It must be noted that even in this situation, what could have been an over-reaction was toned down and peacefully concluded on both the part of the police and the community protesting what some thought was an injustice. It is important that every step is taken to provide clarity, integrity, and security in the information that is communicated to citizens throughout the community. While it is still early in this investigation, it was not too early to provide transparent communication to all that are involved in the quest for justice, peace and understanding. This situation could have gotten well out of hand. A disaster was avoided as information was provided. While there are still issues that must be addressed in the area of police and criminal justice reform, we are reminded that in the final analysis the truth shall be always be revealed. Today’s events could have turned into a crisis that turned our city into something that none of us wish to see. Community policing, transparency and integrity are vital elements in the ultimate security of our community. Let us remember the old African proverb, “to think before we act and to act like we have been doing some thinking.”

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.