Detroit, MI – One Detroit police officer has been suspended and another is likely facing the same after a routine review of dashcam video revealed they fled a shooting scene rather than engaging the gunman (video below).
The incident occurred on June 30 near the intersection of Schoolcraft and Greenfield, WJBK reported.
Detroit Police Interim Chief James White told reporters at a press conference that supervisors were conducting a routine review of officers’ dashcam videos when they saw the unusual scene unfold.
The video showed a man on a sidewalk who took off running as a blue sedan rolled up on him.
Then, right in front of the police car parked across the street, a gunman leaned out the passenger-side rear window with a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on the man who was running away.
Dashcam video showed the officer driving the police vehicle hit the gas and fled the scene, driving right by the suspect vehicle, instead of trying to intervene.
The officers did ultimately turn around and return to the scene to see if the man who was being shot at needed assistance, WJBK reported.
Neither the gunman nor the driver of the blue sedan have been identified or arrested.
“This incident is troubling and it is unfortunate and it’s not consistent with our training,” Chief White told reporters. “And it’s not consistent with the expectations that are set by myself and my command team.”
The city’s interim police chief said he had launched an investigation into the incident, WJBK reported.
“What I’m looking to understand is prior to leaving the scene and providing assistance, what did they think they were doing,” Chief White said. “I need to know a lot of things that I don’t want to discuss right now, but it has to do with, were they secure enough to take immediate action.”
The supervisor who discovered the dashcam video sent it up the chain of command and top brass took action immediately, WJBK reported.
The officer who was driving was suspended with pay while the investigation is conducted, WBJK reported.
Chief White said he was waiting for the other officer to return from medical leave so that the department could finish its internal investigation and make decisions about the officers’ future with the Detroit Police Department.
Other former high-level Detroit police officials told WJBK the officers’ actions were unacceptable.
Retired Detroit Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt said the officers should have engaged the gunman.
“Yes, you pull your gun,” Dolunt said. “He’s shooting at somebody. You pull your gun when you’re in fear of your life, or someone is in fear of their life.”
He said the officers hadn’t told supervisors what happened when it happened, WJBK reported.
“It appears they were hiding something at first because again, it came to light through a routine investigation of the cameras, and the supervisor says ‘Wait a minute,'” Dolunt said. “So it wasn’t reported to them right away.”
Former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said the video upset the community because it showed police running away from danger, WJBK reported.
“I think what is disconcerting for citizens is, and I don’t want to generalize, we see a lot of instances where unarmed individuals are given a hard time by the police,” Godbee said. “And police say they fear for their lives. This was an actual shooting in progress that the officers witnessed and they did not engage the threat.”
Chief White defended his department and said the actions of two officers don’t represent the members of his police force, WJBK reported.
“Individualized incidents do not represent the hard work of the over 2,000 men and women of this department that they do day in, and day out,” the chief said.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: