Detroit police chief hits back at Rashida Tlaib: 'Totally inaccurate' to claim abuse of peaceful protesters

By Julia Musto | Fox News

Chief James Craig says his officers feared for their lives.

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s claim that Detroit Police Department officers abused peaceful protesters is “totally inaccurate,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig remarked Tuesday.

In an interview on “Fox News @ Night” with host Shannon Bream, Craig explained that there was “something very different” going on Sunday evening, when police squad cars were seen on a now viral video running over protesters that had surrounded them.

“To suggest that this protest was peaceful all night certainly is totally inaccurate,” he asserted.

DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS CAUGHT ON VIDEO PLOWING THROUGH GROUP OF PROTESTERS ‘BELIEVED THEY COULD BE SHOT AT’: CHIEF

On Monday, Tlaib reacted to the clip on Twitter. “This is outrageous,” she wrote. “Our city fought hard to have an elected commission to oversee abuse and misconduct by police.”

“Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: I hope you understand the gravity of this, especially if not fully investigated, documented and addressed,” she added.

According to Craig, while the “vast majority [of about] 300 or so protesters” were peaceful, there were 20 to 30 “agitators embedded” in the group, and “that’s when things went bad.”

“I know that the congresswoman is making claims that they were peacefully marching when we intersected and intentionally hit peaceful protesters. [That is] not the case,” the chief added.

“They [surrounded] the vehicle, they began to pelt the vehicle –­ not just one of our police cruisers but two of them –­ and in one instance the rear window of one of our SUVs was broken out. And, the information I got from the officer in that vehicle was that he thought he was being shot at.”

Craig told Bream that in reviewing videos of the incident, the “vast majority” of the city’s community supports his department.

“Twenty to 30 were very agitated, escalated to anger, and then violence. They jumped on the hood. They began to pelt the car. The officers feared for their safety. And they had to do only one thing: they needed to get out of harm’s way and they did that,” he stated.

“I would have preferred that the congresswoman at least took a moment to find out what was going on,” Craig concluded. “We recognize the investigation — we’re very early in the investigation, but we’re talking about violent protesters.”

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