Violent clashes between Detroit police and protesters leads to arrests

Three internal investigations launched

Protesters rally against Operation Legend

DETROIT – Detroit’s top cop is speaking out after dozens were arrested following heavy confrontation between protesters and police.

Police Chief James Craig is drawing a line in the sand between his police force and the group, Detroit Will Breathe. Members of the group organized a protest against Operation Legend that took place Saturday.

Operation Legend has brought an increased number of federal agents to Detroit who are focused on fighting gun violence.

Craig is taking action after 44 people were arrested Saturday night. Between 70 to 100 people gathered to block Woodward Avenue between John R Street and Grand River on Saturday.

Around midnight police gave several warnings before using tear gas to clear the crowd.

Detroiter Kayleigh Waterman was filming the clashes between police and protesters. She says officers were extremely rough with women.

Craig says Detroit Will Breathe created a social media post about how it was going to occupy the intersection of Woodward and John R until federal agents sent here as part of Operation Legend leave town.

“I am not going to let any group set up a Seattle zone of lawlessness in the city of Detroit. That is non-negotiable,” said Craig.

After multiple warnings that took place over an hour police say they moved in after someone pointed a laser at them.

Now three internal investigations have been launched after videos and allegations surfaced of an officer hitting someone in the head with a baton, a protester on the ground being pepper sprayed and another person getting seriously injured.

“Force does not mean brutality,” said Craig.

Operation Legend in Detroit

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.