Detroit Police Chief James Craig just fired back after Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called for disarming “every police department” of a variety of weapons including “tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets, and bean bag rounds.”
Markey stated in a news release on Monday:
“Our streets are not meant to be battlefields, and law enforcement shouldn’t be using weapons of war against protesters and other Americans. Law enforcement’s use of tear gas also compounds the effects of structural racism, because we know communities of color are already suffering disproportionately during this global respiratory pandemic. It’s time we stop using these potentially lethal weapons against our own people.”
“Portland police routinely attack peaceful protesters with brute force,” the Democratic senator added on Twitter. We must disarm these officers, and every other police department in America, of weapons of war, and enact a nationwide ban on tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets, and bean bag rounds.”
Hours later, Craig fired back while appearing on “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” calling Markey’s comments “absolutely ridiculous.”
“You know what I find fascinating, Martha, and even Rashida Tlaib here out of my state here in Michigan who is calling for me to resign, let me just say this,” the police chief said. “When are we going to start talking about disarming criminals? I’ve been on the record. I support law-abiding citizens to be armed, but criminals?”
“And so it’s OK to attack police officers and then everyone always says one thing. ‘These were peaceful protesters.’ So I guess when you throw Molotov cocktails, railroad spikes, other projectiles, using green lasers, I guess that constitutes being peaceful,” Craig added. “We have never tried to stop folks from their right to free speech. We’ve been dealing with this for in excess of 100 days. Six instances where we’ve had to use force because they were either attacking us or they resisted a lawful arrest.”
This isn’t the first time that Craig has shut down a Democratic lawmaker. Last month, he responded after some Democratic politicians called for an investigation into what they say is the use of “excessive force” on protesters.
“The lack of accountability and urgency to investigate claims of excessive force and constitutional violations, coupled with a dismissive attitude of the movement for racial justice, has eroded public trust and community relationships,” they wrote in an open letter. “Internal investigations by the Detroit Police Department cannot fix this.”
Craig did not mince words with his response.
“It’s unfortunate that these representatives have chosen to repeat a number of false claims in their letter without verifying the facts,” he said. “What really disturbs me is that when the protesters assaulted Detroit Police Officers with rocks, railroad spikes, and fireworks, never once did these representatives ask for an independent investigation into their violent criminal activity,”