Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he has only used “necessary” force against protesters when they haven’t been demonstrating peacefully.
Craig was responding to a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Michelson, who issued a temporary restraining order Friday after activists from Detroit Will Breathe launched a lawsuit against the city that charges the police with using excessive force when opposing unruly demonstrations.
“The only thing I could think of is the protesters who are masterful at changing the narrative have always claimed that they were peaceful and we use force,” Craig told “Fox & Friends.” (RELATED: ‘We Are Excited’: Detroit Police Chief Welcomes Federal Agents To City To Help Fight Crime)
The police chief said his officers have only had to use “some level of force” against demonstrators on six occasions during 100 days of protest. Craig noted that police used force during the “first three days” of protests, again when rioters attacked police vehicles and while “they wanted to set up a Seattle-type zone and they refused to be arrested … So, yes, force was used. But just that force that was necessary.”
Craig said the restraining order changes nothing for his officers who respect peaceful protest and who do not use excessive force but it has energized those protesters who were not peacefully demonstrating and who “continue to claim that they were nonviolent.”
“Someone has to step up and just simply say this must stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re left, if you are right — what the issues are.They have an agenda. And one thing we have done here in Detroit, we have done that very well.”
Craig said he does not want Detroit to descend into the chronic rioting and chaos that that has plagued Portland, where riots and demonstrations have occurred for over three months and the city’s mayor has steadfastly refused federal assistance to restore law and order. (RELATED: Detroit Police Chief Says His City ‘Wouldn’t Stand For’ A Seattle-Style Autonomous Zone)
“When you … allow protests that cause you to retreat from a police station, when you allow people to take over six city blocks and then there are shootings, violent acts, rapes and murder and the police are not allowed to go in and do a proper investigation — oh, that’s not the model I follow,” the police chief said. “We’re very different here in Detroit.”