Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Tuesday that his city would not tolerate the kind of “autonomous zone” that currently exists in Seattle.
“I will tell you, with the relationship that we have here in Detroit with our community, one, our community wouldn’t stand for it,” Craig told CNN Newsroom after being asked about the potential for activists taking over a section of his city, “and those who made efforts to try to do what is going on in Seattle would be a problem for the vast majority of Detroiters,”
The chief said he works for his community and he listens to their concerns, so he won’t be abdicating responsibility for providing police services to any section of the city. (RELATED: Rep. Omar: ‘Can’t Reform’ Minneapolis Police Because ‘It’s Rotten To The Root’)
“I’m obligated and committed to making sure that we’re continuing to give police services across this city and a … small group are not going to take over six square blocks and say, ‘You’re no longer welcome here. We’ve made a decision.'” Craig continued. “That’s a problem. It’s a deep, deep problem.”
He said it is always “critically important” to maintain a dialogue with the community and continue “meaningful conversations.” But he said defunding the police is not one of them.
“But when we talk about defunding, what does that really look like? Are we talking about leaving a police facility and now the police are not welcome to provide protective services to community members that live there? That’s a problem. So, yeah, negotiations are good.” (RELATED: No Police, Extortion Of Private Businesses: Inside The Latest On Seattle’s ‘Autonomous Zone’)
Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, whose congressional district is in Detroit, has locked horns with the chief in the past. Craig objected when Tlaib told him that only black people should be allowed to operate his police department’s new facial recognition technology.
After Black Lives Matter began demanding that local police departments be defunded, she was an early supporter of the concept.
Craig oversaw the arrest of a 20-year-old male who was charged with assaulting an elderly nursing home resident. A video of the act shocked social media users.