DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he is angry over recent implications by some in the media that Detroit “could be the next Ferguson, Missouri.”
Craig told reporters Monday he’s heard in local media reports that the Motor City could find itself on the brink of civil unrest — much like what’s happening in the St. Louis suburb following the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer.
Craig said such comparisons are dangerous and irresponsible…and he’s personally offended.
“I find that appalling and certainly not reflective of the Detroit today,” the chief said. “And to make an assertion like that — where did that come from? Where’d it come from? I don’t know…but it was said.”
“And, so, I say to you — and I say to your colleagues — that that’s just simply not the case,” Crag said. “…And I’m not gonna let the media take this and spin it in such a way that suggests we’re on the brink of civil unrest in Detroit. That’s not responsible, and I’m angry about it.”
Craig said he believes that recent events in Ferguson are a sign of a troubled relationship between police and citizens; that unrest was sparked by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“It’s obvious to me that when you see civil unrest to the magnitude of what you see going on in Ferguson, that tells me that there’s been no relationship with the community,” Craig said. “And the shooting was the ignition, or the spark, that’s addressing a lot of issues.”
The situation is much different in Detroit, the chief said.
“The most successful police departments are those that work in partnership with their neighborhoods,” Craig said. “I don’t care what city. I’ve seen it not just here; I’ve seen it in other places.”
The chief’s comments came at an afternoon news conference on the city’s west side announcing the arrest of five suspects in the recent spray-paint graffiti tagging of area buildings.
Craig declined to comment specifically about the Ferguson Police Department’s handling of the Brown case.
Meantime, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order directing additional resources through the Missouri National Guard “to help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson” on day ten of protests there.
Follow complete coverage of the situation in Ferguson on our sister site, CBS St. Louis.