Detroit Will Breathe to hold rally in celebration of federal judge’s order on police tactics

Restraining order in effect for at least two weeks

Tension between police and Detroit Will breathe intensifies
Tension between police and Detroit Will breathe intensifies

DETROIT – Detroit Will Breathe is holding a celebratory rally at 6 p.m. outside Detroit Police Headquarters in response to a federal judge’s order issued Friday that temporarily bars police from using certain tactics against protesters.

Today marks the activist group’s 100 days of protesting against police brutality. Similar protests calling for an end to police brutality have shaken cities across the country for months.

“It’s day 100 and we have a restraining order against the cops for brutal tactics against protesters. Come out and celebrate the power and persistence of this movement with us tonight,” read a statement from the group posted on Facebook.

The judge’s order bans police from using tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and shields against protesters. Under its provisions chokeholds which were already banned are also prohibited.

The restraining order was issued after Detroit Will Breathe filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Detroit Police Department for excessive use of force.

It was filed right after clashes between Detroit police and protesters on Aug. 22 that led to 44 people being arrested.

Detroit Will Breathe held the protest that day to speak out against Operation Legend and federal agents who were sent by President Donald Trump’s administration to assist with increasing gun violence.

In response to the judge’s order Lawrence Garcia, Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit issued this statement: “The parameters laid out in the order are very consistent with current DPD policy. We are disappointed the order was entered without an evidentiary hearing because we believe when the evidence is heard, the police actions to date will be deemed justified.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig made an appearance on Flashpoint Sunday, Aug. 30. where he answered questions about police tactics that were used during the protest where more than 40 people were arrested.

“We weren’t going to have a Seattle zone of lawlessness here in Detroit. That was not an option,” Craig said speaking on Flashpoint.

He said protesters were given several warnings before the arrests were made.

“We were patient. We talked for about an hour and gave repeated warnings that you would be arrested. They said we are not going anywhere. They wanted to be arrested and made demands. And demands were they wanted federal agents to leave the City of Detroit. Again, still showing tremendous patience,” he said.

For more than 13 weeks now some protests have been violent, while overall the majority were peaceful.

Craig said during the protest individuals were armed with green lazars used in other cities that impacted federal agents.

Craig also noted that there is video from that night showing some of the protesters pulling on officers to “free their comrades.”

“We have several investigations we are looking at to see if the officers’ actions were appropriate. Given the amount of resistance that we see and we’ve seen throughout the 13 weeks periodically my hat goes out to the men and women in the Detroit Police Department who have done a phenomenal job over these past weeks,” added Craig.

He talked about the impact of pulling back federal agents from Portland.

“It is not about federal agents, it is not about this police department, it is something much deeper than that. So they pulled the federal agents back in Portland and the riots continued,” he said.

According to Craig the City if Detroit has worked with federal agents for decades and Operation Legend is only an expansion of that partnership.

“The federal agents are in Detroit to do one thing and one thing only, to work with this department, which we’ve worked with federal agents for 26-years,” he said.

Watch Detroit Police Chief James Craig’s interview on Flashpoint

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020 episode of Flashpoint
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020 episode of Flashpoint

About the Author:

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.