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Criminal Justice & Legal System
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Detroit police chief defends actions of officer who shot and killed a man

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Sarah Cwiek
/
Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig defended the actions of an officer who shot and killed a man in an incident last week.

 

Craig said the man was one of three suspects in an investigation into the shooting of four teens that took place on July 19.

 

Video of the incident shows the man with a gun and the officer firing a single shot. Craig said the other two suspects were detained without incident.

 

He said the officer had the clarity of mind to only shoot once.

 

“You have a hair of a second: do you shoot or not shoot?" Craig said. "It’s a very difficult place to be. You’re talking about an armed suspect, there’s not always easy answers, but clearly this officer performed in a manner in which he trained.”

 

Craig said that hair of a second could lead to life or death consequences for an officer.

 

“And I’ve been in those situations throughout my career where I’ve had to make a decision: do I shoot, or do I not shoot?," he said. "And you don’t have that much time to make a decision. The last thing an officer wants to do is use fatal force, but he fired a single shot, so he certainly had the presence of mind to not continue to fire.”

 

He said there is widespread anti-police rhetoric across the country and it puts officers in danger.

 

Craig also said the Detroit Police Department had not requested assistance from federal law enforcement with ongoing protests, but welcomed federal support in getting guns off the streets.

 

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