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Detroit's top cop on Monday called a fight that erupted between officers during a drug raid at a home on the city's east side "embarrassing."

 

The Thursday night fight was between police officers from the Detroit Police Department's 11th and 12th Precincts, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday.

"This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I've seen in this department since I was appointed chief," Craig said. "In fact, I have to tell you it's one of the most disappointing (moments) I've experienced in my entire 40-year career.

"This should not have happened."

Craig made the remarks at a news conference held at the city's Public Safety Headquarters on Third Street near downtown Detroit. He was joined by several members of his command staff.

Craig said the department's Internal Affairs division is investigating the incident. He said once the investigation is concluded, the findings will be submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, which will determine what charges, if any, will be filed against the officers involved in the skirmish.

They could also face discipline from the department, the chief said.

He also said he met with all of his executive command team Monday morning to reinforce his expectations.

 

The chief said the incident stemmed from the execution of a search warrant on a suspect drug house in the 19000 block of Andover Street near Seven Mile, which is on the border of the department's 11th and 12th Precincts.

He said investigators became aware a house on that block was a drug trafficking site within the boundaries of the 11th Precinct.

Detroit Police has conducted 1,038 drug raids, 32 undercover drug investigations and 379 narcotic street investigations so far this year and all were done without incident, the chief said.  

Craig said officers with the 11th Precinct were the ones that obtained the search warrant for the house. Officers recovered a handgun from the house.

"As they approached the location on foot to make entry, they confronted two individuals a few doors away," he said. "We believe the 11th Precinct officers didn't recognize (they) were actually plain-clothes Detroit Police officers from the 12th Precinct."

The plain-clothes officers were directed to the ground and at some point, an officer from the 11th Precinct pointed a shotgun at the officers, Craig said.

"Once that brief encounter was over, the 11th Precinct officers continued on to execute the search warrant," he said. "So this is when things started to go terribly wrong."

As officers from the 11th Precinct entered the home, officers from the 12th Precinct also entered and a dispute began, the chief said.

"We know from video there was arguing, some pushing and shoving and at one point, one officer grabbed another in a headlock and there was a subsequent punch," Craig said.

He said the officer who was struck retaliated with another punch. One officer was treated at a hospital for a contusion on his lip and the other was treated at a different hospital for a black eye. Both were released after being treated, he said.

Craig said those two officers have been placed on restricted duty. He also said a supervisor from the 12th Precinct has been removed from the department's special operations unit while the matter is investigated.

"We hold our supervisors and our managers accountable," he said. "In this instance, it appears this supervisor did not have control of the situation and got the officers from the 12th Precinct excited to the point that we have this very embarrassing situation." 

Craig said he's grateful no one was seriously injured in the incident.

"The good news is this could have very easily been a situation where one of our officers could have been shot," he said. "That didn't happen. So for that we're very thankful no one was more seriously injured."

Note: Video contains graphic language.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

 

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