Detroit Cops Brawl After 'Embarrassing' Drug House Standoff

By Victoria Kim 11/21/17

Detroit's police chief said the botched undercover operation was "one of the most disappointing things" he had experienced in his 40-year career.

Three Detroit police officers
Photo via YouTube

A lack of communication between two precincts led to a brawl between police officers who were unwittingly raiding the same drug house.

“I am thankful that no one was more seriously injured,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who called the November 9 incident among the “most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department since I’ve been appointed police chief.”

He went further, saying, “In fact, I’d have to tell you it is probably one of the most disappointing things I’ve experienced in my entire 40-year career.”

On the night of November 9, officers from Detroit’s 11th precinct were executing a search warrant at a suspected drug house. What they didn’t realize was that 12th precinct officers were raiding the same house at the same time—but neither party knew of their plans that night. (The house resides in the 11th precinct.) 

The Detroit Free Press reports: “As they approached [the drug house]… the officers confronted two people several doors away, apparently not realizing they were undercover cops from the 12th Precinct.

“The officers from the 11th Precinct ordered the undercover officers to the ground and at some point an officer pointed a shotgun at the pair. Shortly after, the 11th Precinct officers continued to execute the search warrant.”

It was at this point, James Craig says, that things “started to go terribly wrong.”

Body cam footage reportedly captured the standoff—arguing devolved into pushing and shoving. As the officers began throwing punches, a brawl ensued, and the body cam was knocked to the floor.

Some of the officers sustained minor injuries, and some were placed on restrictive duty as a result of the embarrassing incident. A supervisor from the 12th Precinct was also disciplined for botching the raid and failing to communicate with the other precinct. 

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is in the process of reviewing the video footage, after which it will decide whether to press charges such as assault and battery.

Police officials say it’s a relief that the situation did not escalate further among the armed officers.

“When you have both sides of this matter, both doing their jobs to control the scene, you can imagine the chaos,” said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. “They fortunately got control of the scene together and a potentially dangerous situation didn’t turn out as bad as it could have.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr