Detroit cops told they must intervene if they see misconduct

Posted at 1:32 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 13:32:29-04

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police officers must intervene if they see a fellow officer engaging in misconduct or they will risk losing their jobs, the city’s police chief said.

Police Chief James Craig announced the policy change Thursday in an executive order that didn’t need the approval of a civilian oversight board, The Detroit News reported.

The mandate is effective for a year and could lead to termination if not followed. It also requires Detroit police to intervene if they witness officers from other agencies involved in misconduct.

The police department previously required officers to simply report misconduct.

“This takes it one step further and requires them to actually stop the behavior,” Craig said.

Protests erupted in Detroit and other cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes even as Floyd begged for air and eventually stopped moving.

Four Minneapolis officers were fired. The former officer who pinned Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three others were charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

“The days where officers are afraid to speak out against wrongdoing by fellow cops has to stop,” said the Rev. W.J. Rideout III, a Detroit pastor who has led protests against police brutality involving Blacks.

Craig’s directive is part of other proposed changes to how Detroit police use force. They include having officers who fire shots at moving vehicles prove it was necessary to save lives and requiring officers to carefully consider whether they need to use force against children and people with mental or physical disabilities.

Those proposed changes must go before the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners for review and approval.