By Tom Gantert and Sandy Malone
Detroit, MI – Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been critical of a Black Lives Matter group of protesters and now they are calling for his resignation.
Chief Craig had called the protesting group Detroit Will Breathe “untruthful” and said that Detroit residents were “fed up” with the group, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Chief Craig said that residents of the city don’t support Detroit Will Breathe, according to the Detroit Free Press.
WJBK reported that the group has demanded that Chief Craig resign and that he encourages violence against protesters in a Sept. 3 press conference.
“Chief Craig’s willingness to cozy up to the brazenly racist Trump administration is not welcomed here. We call upon Detroit police chief James Craig to resign. Go. It’s just not working,” one speaker said, according to WJBK. The TV station didn’t identify the speaker.
The Detroit Police Department arrested 44 supporters of Detroit Will Breathe on Aug. 23 after the Black Lives Matter protesters blocked off streets in downtown Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The police ordered the protesters to leave or face arrest. Instead, the protesters would not leave and started insulting the police officers, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Chief Craig said police waited for more than an hour and gave at least eight warnings before arresting the protesters.
The people arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and disobeying a lawful order by a police officer. One protester was charged with a felony.
“I am not going to let any group set up a Seattle-type zone of lawlessness here in the city of Detroit,” Craig said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “That is non-negotiable.”
Chief Craig told FOX News that he had learned his lesson during his time on the Los Angeles Police Department and referenced the Rodney King riots.
“We don’t retreat here in Detroit,” the police chief told Tucker Carlson on July 28. “We’re just not gonna do it.”
“You saw the images … of streets where there was lawlessness, looting, burning,” he said. “No sign of police officers. We weren’t giving up ground to the radicals. We just didn’t do it.”
“I saw what it was like after Rodney King in Los Angeles,” Chief Craig explained.
“And so, but not only that, Detroiters,” he continued. “Detroiters are fed up with these radical protests. I’m not to talking about these peaceful protests … [I mean] these misguided radicals that have tried to incite violence in our city.”
“They said, ‘We’re not going to put up with it.’ And so we got a couple of things. We got a great police department, great leadership, but we have a community that stands with us and said, ‘enough is enough,” the chief bragged to FOX News.
Then he cited a recent example of how having a unified city helped keep the peace recently after a potentially-controversial officer-involved shooting.
The incident started at around 12:30 p.m. on July 10 as Detroit police gang officers were conducting surveillance in the area of San Juan and McNichols.
The officers were investigating suspects believed to be connected to murders which occurred Fourth of July weekend, according to Detroit Free Press.
The officers observed Darnell Sylvester sitting in a vehicle, and they determined that he had an outstanding federal drug warrant.
While officers were arresting the fugitive, Hakim Littleton arrived on scene.
Bodycam video shows Littleton reached in his pocket and pulled out his gun.
Chief Craig said that a witness heard Littleton say that he wasn’t going to let police take Sylvester.
“[The suspect] then removed a blue-steel, .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol and began to fire several rounds at the officers over the shoulder,” the chief told reporters at the time.
The video shows Littleton fired two shots directly at the head of an officer standing only a few feet away.
Both shots missed, and Chief Craig said that the officer immediately attempted to tackle Littleton.
“Despite being fired upon — and you saw it with your own eyes — he continued to advance,” Chief Craig said. “He doesn’t even have time to take out his weapon. He wanted to serve, putting his own life in jeopardy.”
The officers then returned fire and shot the suspect.
Littleton was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Sylvester was arrested and no officers were injured.
Chief Craig said he put the video out almost immediately to quell unrest in the community after a “self-proclaimed, misinformed, misguided leader of this radical fringe had the audacity to try to change the narrative.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan commended the police chief’s quick release of the video which calmed the outraged community and helped avoid violent riots, FOX News reported.
“And this guy today, this same misinformed leader, is calling for my resignation,” Chief Craig ranted. “Detroiters will have nothing of that.”
“So when you talk about what’s different here, we have a city that has stood together and oh, by the way, I know there’s a lot of conversation about the mayors in some of these big cities,” the chief said. “Our mayor stands with this police chief, stands with this police department [and] we are not going to tolerate this uptick in violence. That’s key.”