This past weekend a convoy of SUVs and Trucks drove up to a home and set up a perimeter. Men in combat armor, with guns drawn, made their way across a lawn littered with children’s toys and up to the front door. The violence was sudden and fatal. In a coordinated movement, men rush to the door and throw a stun grenade through a window. After the grenade exploded there was a shot and when the smoke cleared a seven year old child was dead.
You might expect that this was Baghdad, or some other city in Iraq or Afghanistan. It was in a war zone, but in the streets of our own City of Detroit. The Detroit Police threw a grenade into the front room of a home without warning and rushed in with guns blazing. The same Police Department that is under a Federal “probation” of sorts because of excessive use of fatal force against innocent citizens, is now throwing grenades and shooting 7 year old girls that are asleep in their own home.
The police were seeking a man suspected of homicide, but the police were not astute enough to know that there was an upper and lower flat – and they chose the wrong address. Along with the Police were camera crews, there to film a reality cop show and, if they were lucky, a snuff film.
Police experts are appalled at the excessive tactics of the Detroit Police Department, whose job is to protect innocent citizens. They had many non-violent alternatives, such as waiting to see if the suspect was leaving or entering the home. Just wait until he is isolated and can be apprehended without any risk to innocent citizens.
Killing innocent people to capture a suspect is a crime in war zones under international law and the Geneva Conventions. What do we call it when it happens in Detroit?
Of course, the usual response of police was to justify the killing but claiming that the victims had “resisted” or posed a life threatening danger. A grandmother and a sleeping 7 year old girl, just suffering the concussion of a grenade were a danger to armed and armored police? Unfortunately for the men who killed this child, there were witnesses and a video film exposing their attempted cover up.
In some cities, such as Newark, NJ, police are honored for not using deadly force even when the circumstances justify deadly force. In Detroit, officers have been given medals for using deadly force on innocent citizens. Is it any wonder why Detroiters not only distrust but also fear their Police?