The police chief promised to be “transparent” and to hold officers accountable. He said police are still talking to the victim, “who’s hospitalized, as you could imagine.” “It’s going to take some time to get all the information out from him,” White said.
Police were responding to a brawl in the area, at least the second such occurrence in Greektown since June, according to multiple news outlets. White said it’s early in the investigation, but he indicated businesses open late in the area have a part to play in protecting their patrons. “You just can’t come here, make money, and go home,” White said. The chief focused on one business specifically that he said has since been shut down. “Right now we’re focused on the victim of the shooting,” he said. “We’re focused on the fact that the business was open and operating illegally. We’re going to continue to look at that.”
White said the officer who threw the punch has been taken off of patrol and is on desk duty.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump posted video of the officer’s punch on Twitter. “This is NOT how police should interact with citizens & this use of force must NOT be tolerated,” he said in the tweet.
The allegation of excessive force comes amid a national movement to stop police brutality and racial profiling by defunding police or reallocating a portion of public safety budgets toward preventive social services. Detroit city council member Raquel Castañeda-López put forth an amendment in April to cut the city’s policing budget by #39 million, or 12%. It failed, Michigan Radio reported. “It is time for us to look at these budgets closely,” Yvonne Jones said in April at a Detroit city council meeting Michigan Radio covered. “The police budget needs to be defunded. There’s too much money being spent on the police, and not enough on the people of Detroit.”
A similar claim led officials in Rochester, New York, to actually go about reallocating 4% of the city’s $95 million policing budget last year to social services including a “person in crisis” team. The effort was prompted by the death of Daniel Prude, who was having a mental health crisis when police placed him in a spit hood on March 23—a detainment that ended with Prude’s death one week later.
“I’m from this community, and people from this community have spoken after they saw how police treated Daniel Prude. That’s what birthed our program,” Dre’ Johnson, a social worker on the city’s new crisis team told the Independent. “I don’t think it’s taking a shot at the police to say that people weren’t happy with the responses they were getting when it came to mental health, or substance abuse and homelessness. There was a void and we’re filling that void.”