Detroit’s Police Chief, James Craig, ripped into the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and its intent to eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, snapping, “This will decimate policing as we know it. This is a veiled attempt, I think, at dismantling policing.”
Craig was interviewed by Newsmax’s Rachel Rollar, who spoke of the Department of Justice’s sudden investigations into police departments across the country, notably Minneapolis and Louisville, and asked Craig, “What changes do you expect to be made?”
“Well, let me just say this,” Craig responded. “My experience is vast; I served in the LAPD when we were under federal oversight; I served as the chief in both Portland, Maine, and Cincinnati, and Cincinnati had been under federal oversight. And then when I got rehired here as the chief in Detroit, we were in roughly a 12 to 13-year consent judgment.”
“So, two things: I think for the new chief coming in, and if DOJ finds there is a pattern and practice of excessive force, those issues can certainly be addressed under federal oversight,” he continued. “However: a word of caution: how it’s managed is key. When I look at Oakland, California, which has right now the longest-running federal oversight consent judgment— absolute failure. They’ve had chief after chief come in and out; they have a monitor there who, ironically, was the same monitor in Detroit when I arrived there. I told that monitor, I said, ‘It will be my goal to put you out of business here in the city of Detroit.’ He is still in Oakland; they have not succeeded, and so that’s a problem. So, how the federal oversight is managed is key.”
Rollar then segued to the George Floyd bill, asking if it would be passed as well.
“You know, I’ve got to tell you where I have a real problem: the whole issue of qualified immunity,” Craig answered. “That is a deal-breaker. (GOP South Carolina Senator) Tim Scott, what he put on the table was appropriate; it was a balancing act. We know how important it is that police officers who engage in criminal misconduct should be held accountable. That would be the exemption. But when you talk about civil lawsuits, this will decimate policing as we know it. This is a veiled attempt, I think, at dismantling policing because here’s what I know, all the way from my seat down: who’s going to want to serve in law enforcement when there’s no protection. I’ve talked to my colleagues in other cities; look at what’s happening in New York right now; retirements and resignation rates have skyrocketed.”
“So this vocal minority is not speaking for people who live in vulnerable communities,” he commented. “That’s what the problem is today with everything that’s going on; they’re voiceless. These folks want good, effective, constitutional policing. The vast majority of the men and women who serve each and every day do it right, and the profession shouldn’t be painted with a broad brush.”
He concluded, “But if they remove qualified immunity, there’s going to be a mass exodus and policing will look like it looks now. They’re already trying to take traffic stops away. Knee-jerk reactions. So, ‘let’s not stop anybody anymore.’ The mayor of Brooklyn Center said, ‘Well, if they must stop someone let’s use police officers that are not armed.’ There’s no such thing as a ‘routine traffic stop.’”
Detroit’s Police Chief reacts to what he’s seeing happen to law enforcement departments across the country: https://t.co/XtIrKtj7G7
— Newsmax (@newsmax) April 28, 2021
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