Protestors in Detroit say they were met with riot gear and forceful arrests while they protested the police killing of Hakim Littleton. Littleton, 20, was killed July 10 in an incident with police, reports The Detroit News.
Authorities allege that Littleton fired at them while they were approaching a second man, Darnell Sylvester, who was wanted on a federal drug warrant and gave himself up without incident. They claim that Littleton told them “you are not going to take my man” before he pulled out a handgun and fired twice at an advancing officer. Police then returned fire and he was killed.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig called the officer who pursued the man a “hero”, noting that he gave chase despite not brandishing a weapon and being fired upon by Littleton. He also urged the public not to have “knee-jerk” reactions to the killing.
“It’s simply a miracle that he wasn’t struck in the head,” said Craig according to The Detroit News. “This officer was a hero, despite being fired upon, he clearly wanted to stop the suspect even while putting himself in direct harms way. “It’s important to get the facts right,” said Craig. “It’s always tragic when a police officer has to use force,” Craig said. But, he stressed: “This knee-jerk reaction to not knowing facts is a problem … It’s to incite others.”
Still, protestors believe something is amiss and they hit the Detroit streets while calling for an investigation.
Among the protestors were Detroit Will Breathe co-organizers Tristan Taylor and Nakia-Renne Wallace who were both detained. A photo has surfaced of Nakia being held in a chokehold by authorities who protestors say unnecessarily showed up in riot gear. There are reports that protestors were hit with batons and tear gas.
In response to the public outcry surrounding Littleton’s death, Chief Craig released body camera and dashboard footage of Littleton brandishing a handgun and firing first. The footage came amid rumors that Littleton was unarmed and had dropped to his knees when officers pulled the trigger.
Detroit Will Breathe released a statement Saturday on criticizing the Detroit police’s decision to have officers in riot gear at the protest. They also said the footage of Littleton firing at police needs more context, reports ClickOnDetroit.
“Instead of engaging with the crowd by sending someone to talk to people, to tell us that the video would be released in a couple of hours, to reach out to the family, DPD sent police in riot gear marching through the neighborhood to intimidate the crowd, ram them with shields, beat them with batons, and blind them with pepper spray. Once again, DPD showed its inability to deescalate a situation and sought to beat any criticism of DPD away with their batons and shields.”
The video sheds some light on the situation, such as the fact that Hakeem LIttleton shot at police and attempted to flee from officers. What the video doesn’t show is Hakeem’s motivation or whether he perceived his life to be in danger by DPD. It is unclear if he had history with the police officers or not, something a thorough investigation and background check of the officers involved in the shooting would help uncover.”
They added that it should be “standard” for body camera footage to be released the day of the incident, as well as the names and records of officers involved.
What do YOU make about the Hakim Littleton protestors being met with force??? Do YOU agree that police need to give more context and info immediately surrounding shootings?