Professionalism? Detroit police shoved, punched demonstrators in weekend protests

May 31, 2020, 10:21 AM by  Violet Ikonomova

Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Mayor Mike Duggan have commended the city's officers for their handling of this weekend's at times violent protests against police brutality, saying they exhibited "courage and professionalism" despite having been provoked by some demonstrators who threw objects at them.

"I just want to say how proud I am of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department," Duggan said in a Saturday news conference. "Every move was being recorded on video and it shows you the training that Chief Craig and the leadership team at DPD have instilled in this department."

The following videos tell another story.

In the first two — different angles of the same Friday incident — an officer is seen punching a demonstrator in the head.

In the second incident, an officer is seen aggressively shoving someone to the ground. When he gets back up, another officer continues to shove him while yelling "get the fuck on."

Separately, a Free Press reporter said Saturday that an officer pepper sprayed him even as he identified himself as a reporter. 

The Detroit Police Department has not responded to a request for comment on the incidents. 

More than 140 people were arrested for disorderly conduct across two nights of demonstrations. Two officers sustained minor injuries.

If you were at the protests and witnessed police violence or were arrested, you can call the National Lawyers Guild Detroit Chapter for help at (313) 925-2626.

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