Police officers arrested eight people during a protest in Detroit Friday night over the police shooting of a 20-year-old black man.
Chaos broke out in the neighborhood of San Juan near McNichols Road on the city’s northwest side as dozens of people began yelling at police and throwing bricks and bottles at them following the fatal shooting of Hakim Littleton, reports The New York Post. Two officers were injured.
Police Chief James Craig said the shooting was justified, noting that police dashcam video apparently shows that Littleton pulled a gun out of his pocket, aimed at an officer, and opened fire, the Detroit Free Press reported. In response, three officers returned fire. Littleton was pronounced dead shortly after. The dash cam footage was released earlier on Friday.
Craig said messages on social media incited the protest by misleading the public into believing Littleton was unarmed. “We needed to get the facts out,” he said. “It’s always tragic when a police officer has to use force.” Craig added, “This knee-jerk reaction to not knowing facts is a problem … It’s to incite others.”
Police say Littleton’s family has accepted the account given by police. “They weren’t happy,” Craig said, “but they believed what we said, and I greatly appreciate that.”
He went on to explain why Littleton opened fire on the officers. “When Mr. Littleton was walking in the opposite direction, he heard that his friend was being detained, then he walked toward the officers,” Craig told reporters. “Some comments were made. He was angry about his friend being arrested, and that’s when he pulled out his weapon.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan agreed that the shooting was justified based on the video. “Public confidence requires citizens to be able to judge for themselves the actions of our officers. The video is clear that the officer was suddenly and unexpectedly fired upon. I commend Chief Craig for moving so quickly to release the video publicly,” Duggan said.