Prosecutor: Detroit police will not be charged in 2020 shooting of Hakim Littleton

Man, 20, dies in July 2020 after fatally shot by Detroit police

A charging decision may be reached Wednesday in a Detroit police shootout from the summer of 2020.

DETROIT – Prosecutors provided an update Wednesday on whether or not Detroit police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a civilian in 2020 will be charged.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday that no charges will be made against officers involved in the deadly shooting of Hakim Littleton, 20, on July 10, 2020 that occurred in the area of McNichols Road and San Juan Drive, just west of Livernois.

Worthy showed video and still images of the incident during a news conference Wednesday.

“After a thorough investigation of the case by the Michigan State Police (MSP), the Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Task Force, and an independent review of the case by the WCPO Public Integrity Unit (PIU), it has been determined that no charges will be issued against the three officers involved in the fatal shooting of Hakim Littleton,” a press release from Worthy reads Wednesday. “The police were acting in lawful self-defense and defense of others.”

According to Worthy, the Detroit police officers’ use of deadly force was justified because of their belief that Littleton posed an imminent threat of danger or death to themselves and others around them, as per DPD policy.

“The events of July 10, 2020 were captured on DPD body worn cameras and police dash camera video. Mr. Littleton witnessed his friend being arrested in a residential neighborhood. As Mr. Littleton was retrieving a gun from his pants pocket, an officer, who did not have a weapon drawn, approached him. Mr. Littleton fired shots at the officer at close range. Even after Mr. Littleton was on the ground wounded, he remained a deadly threat. He was armed and continuing to fire shots, endangering all the officers and civilians on the street. The officers fired their weapons at Mr. Littleton stopping the threat. They acted in defense of the officer, in defense of fellow officers, themselves, and civilians that were near the scene.

“It has been widely reported and misrepresented that Mr. Littleton’s gun was kicked away from him before an officer fired a final shot striking Mr. Littleton. This fact is simply not true, and it is not supported by the video evidence. Mr. Littleton had the weapon in his hand pointing it in the direction of the officer who was attempting to restrain him when a fellow officer shot Mr. Littleton. This is a clear case of self-defense and defense of others. As prosecutors we are charged with following the facts and the law. The facts and applicable law in this case do not support any charges in the fatal shooting of Mr. Littleton because it was justified.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

You can read the entire press release from Prosecutor Worthy below.

According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, officers were looking for a person involved in a Fourth of July shooting that left five people hurt and three others dead. Officers say when they found their suspect, they were approached by another man. Somehow a fight took place and an officer put that man, later identified as Littleton, in some kind of hold. That’s when officers say Littleton opened fire.

Littleton reportedly began to fire a number of rounds at the police officer over his shoulder. As that was happening, the officer pushed him away and that is when the additional officers fearing for their lives fired off several rounds striking Littleton.

The 20-year-old man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Following Littleton’s death, protests erupted in Detroit over the shooting. The July incident occurred as protests were still underway in Downtown Detroit to denounce police brutality after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, killing him in May of 2020.

Protesters, as well as members of Littleton’s family, believed the 20-year-old’s death was unjustified and that nonlethal means should have been used to take him into custody.

More: Protesters march on Detroit Police 12th Precinct following deadly shooting

In response to protests, the Detroit Police Department released body camera footage from the shooting, hoping to “combat rumors about the incident circulating on social media,” officials said.

Speaking to Local 4 last year, DPD Chief Craig has shown support fir the actions his officers took in regard to the shooting, which he believes are proven necessary by the evidence in the released video.

“As you saw in the video, our officers were fired on. The next suspect was within two to three feet, and he was pointing a gun at the officer’s head. This hero, who then quickly responded to try to mitigate violence, he ran, didn’t even have a chance to take his weapon out and he was concerned about his safety, and the safety of his partners. And you ask me how we respond to a situation like that, that was quickly unfolding, unbelievable,” Craig said.

Still, despite video evidence, Littleton’s brother Rashad Littleton-Schaefer refused to believe how the incident played out.

“I want Chief James Craig to stop lying because he’s not making any sense. He said to the cop, ‘good job.’ And that’s not a good job in the city of Detroit,” said Rashad.

Chief Craig has since continued to stand by his officers’ actions.

“Clearly, when you look at this video, the officer responded appropriately,” Craig said. “It certainly was a threat to that of his own life and that of his partners.”

Read more: Brother of Hakim Littleton speaks out, wants meeting with Detroit city officials

Detroit police chief defends officer in fatal shooting

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.