Detroit, MI – Members of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) were outraged to learn that the supervisor who Detroit Police Corporal Rasheen McClain called to the scene on the night he was murdered in an ambush failed to respond to his request for help.
DPD Sergeant Ronald Kidd had previously been fired by the department in 2014 for cowardice, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Corporal McClain did request a supervisor,” Chief Craig told reporters one day earlier. “A supervisor was assigned. As we did our investigation, we determined, allegedly, that he did not go to the scene when the shooting incident happened.”
Sgt. Kidd was in the area and able to respond at the time.
Radio transmissions clearly indicated that two officers had been shot and needed to be transported to the hospital, and supervisors who were not assigned to the call did respond to the scene to take over command, according to Chief Craig.
The chief noted that there is video evidence that supports the allegations against Sgt. Kidd, and said the sergeant’s failure to act was a “grave concern.”
Sgt. Kidd has been suspended from the force amid an ongoing investigation into his inaction that night.
“I found this to be an allegation of gross neglect of duty, so for that reason, I took swift action,” Chief Craig said.
The chief praised the additional supervisors who immediately dropped everything to respond to the chaotic scene.
“Imagine the crisis that’s quickly emerging, and over the air, you hear officers screaming ‘officers down! Shots fired! Officer down!’” Chief Craig said. “That’s the type of situation that they were dealing with.”
“And yes – Sgt. Kidd was very aware of what was happening,” the chief reiterated. “He was listening to the radio. As we looked at his video, we could listen to the officers saying ‘he’s been shot.’”
Another sergeant took control of the situation over the radio, and ordered police to load the wounded officers into a scout car to rush them to the hospital.
At one point in the video, Sgt. Kidd was seen speaking with a younger officer as five other officers ran past them – possibly in the direction of where the armed suspect was hiding, Chief Craig continued.
“And all [Sgt. Kidd] could say was, ‘They must know something that we don’t know…we should take cover,’” the chief said.
Chief Craig told reporters that he had never seen any officer behave with the “neglect” and “cowardice” that Sgt. Kidd exhibited that night.
He also discussed the sergeant’s 2014 termination from the force.
“I remember the case because it was so troubling to watch his female partner fighting a mentally ill person in a detention facility, and he stood by and did nothing,” Chief Craig said of the incident that led to Sgt. Kidd being fired.
Sgt. Kidd threatened to go to arbitration, and was ultimately allowed to return to the force after a 68-day unpaid suspension.
According to Chief Craig, someone else signed his signature on a plea agreement document that led to Sgt. Kidd’s return to the force – a fact the chief said he didn’t realize until after Cpl. McClain’s murder.
“There’s three areas that really incense me,” the chief told reporters. “Cowardness, lying, and engaging in criminality.”
“I would not have wanted to agree to 68 days,” he added. “That was a serious allegation.”
The formerly-terminated officer was later promoted to the rank of sergeant after he returned to the force.
“For contractual reasons, we couldn’t stop the promotion,” Chief Craig told reporters.
The chief said that DPD officers deserved better from Sgt. Kidd.
“I have received a number of contacts from people in the organization who are angry, who are frustrated, and want him fired,” Chief Craig added.
Depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation, Sgt. Kidd faces potential termination from the force, as well as possible criminal charges, he said.
“We will be moving very quickly to address this issue,” Chief Craig said.
Cpl. McClain was murdered in the line of duty on Nov. 20 during an ambush.
“It was very clear this suspect was trying to bait the officers and had a presence of mind,” Chief Craig said at the time, according to WXYZ. “He wanted suicide by cop.”
The incident began at approximately 7:20 p.m., when Cpl. McClain, 46, and his partner, Officer Phillippe Batoum-Bisse, were dispatched to a report of a break-in at a home in the 20000-block of Wyoming Avenue, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The suspect, identified only as a 28-year-old parolee with an extensive criminal history, was angrily searching for his estranged ex-girlfriend at the residence, police said.
The gunman had also allegedly fired rounds at the woman’s home approximately two weeks prior, according to the Detroit Free Press.
When the officers arrived at the scene, the frantic occupants rushed outside and told them the suspect was inside the home and that he was armed with a “high-powered rifle,” police said.
A total of four DPD officers entered the residence and cleared the upstairs area.
As they were heading down into the basement, the gunman opened fire with an SKS semi-automatic carbine rifle, according to The Detroit News.
One round struck Cpl. McClain in the neck, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Officer Batoum-Bisse suffered a gunshot wound to the ankle.
“It was clear he had some type of tactical training,” Chief Craig said of the suspect, according to WXYZ.
He noted that the gunman was “very target-specific,” and that he “knew what he planned to do,” WILX reported.
Two other officers returned fire, striking the suspect in the arm before he fled from the house, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The gunman was apprehended approximately a block away from the shooting scene, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
He is expected to recover.
According to police, the suspect was previously the subject of two restraining orders, and has been convicted of a slew of offenses, some of which were assault and weapons-related.
He was released onto parole in March.
Cpl. McClain and Officer Batoum-Bisse were rushed to a local hospital, where Cpl. McClain died of his injuries, WXYZ reported.
“There are no words that are adequate to convey our heartfelt condolences to officer Rasheen Phillipe McClain’s family,” Detroit Police Officers Association President Craig Miller said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Officer McClain loved this city and was proud to serve and protect its citizens.”
“The members of the Detroit Police Officers Association will continue to strive to follow in his footsteps and to be worthy of his sacrifice,” Miller added, according to The Detroit News.
Chief Craig said that Cpl. McClain’s murder marked “a heartbreaking day for the brave men and women” of the DPD, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He described the 16-year veteran-of-the-force as an outstanding leader.
“It’s no surprise that when [Cpl. McClain] arrived at the scene, he took charge,” Chief Craig said, according to The Detroit News. “Officer McClain quickly developed a plan: Once the other officers came, they’d go in, clear the location, and try to apprehend a dangerous suspect.”
“I’m always struck by the fact that we seem to lose the best of our officers in these tragedies,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, according to WXYZ. “The city of Detroit is lucky to have the finest police force in America and the whole city mourns one of our heroes.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that the shooting is a stark reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face every time they put on their uniforms.
“They run into danger to protect us,” Worthy said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We must never forget this, and should not need a horrible tragedy to remind us.”
Cpl. McClain leaves behind his wife of 10 years, as well as his two stepchildren, according to WXYZ.