Detroit Police Announce Massive Crackdown on ‘Party Atmosphere’ As Pandemic Restrictions Lift
Mayor Mike Duggan and Acting Detroit Police Chief James White have announced a crackdown on unruly gatherings as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and Detroiters let off steam after more than 15 months of the pandemic.
The announcement was made at a press conference Thursday, following a viral video that showed a massive brawl outside Greektown Casino over the weekend that saw several arrests and injured police officers .
It was the very first weekend since the start of the pandemic that bars could stay open until 2 a.m.
“We got it,” White said. “We were all closed on the spot. We are coming out of COVID, we are reappearing. We understand, but we have to do it responsibly. We can not burst this festive atmosphere in front of houses and neighborhood parks before 2, 3, 4 in the morning, [with] loud music, brawls, people bringing weapons.
The city announced a plan that includes an increased police presence, strict noise enforcement, enforced curfews for children, and crackdowns on drag racing, drifting, hatchback-style parking parties and open intoxicants.
The city says it is also enforcing a 50-foot noise ordinance for buildings and a 10-foot ordinance for vehicles, and violations could result in the suspension or revocation of business licenses.
Duggan also approved White’s request for 4,000 overtime per week for DPD agents, and 2,000 overtime per weekend for drag racing and drifting law enforcement.
The crackdown will target Greektown, Riverfront and Riverside, Rouge, Balduck and Henderson parks.
“We will move this detail as needed,” White said. “It’s not something we’re going to stick to. We will see how the problem evolves. If it clears up in one area and starts to grow in another area, we’ll move on. ”
As they did last year during the Black Lives Matter protests, officials blamed the heckling in part on “outsiders” from the suburbs and beyond, sharing videos showing men from Kalamazoo brazenly posting drag racing videos on social media. The city ended up seizing their vehicles by confiscating civilian property.
In total, the city says it has processed more than 37 seized cars.
“It’s not just words, we’re going to do it,” Deputy Chief Todd Bettison said. “We will do everything in our power not to return these vehicles. And we’re going to ticket the drivers, and we’re going to ticket those who were standing watching this behavior. ”
White said the increased police crackdown will not take away the department’s ability to respond to 911 emergencies.
“It is a matter of safety for all,” he said. “We want you to enjoy our city. We want you to come down. We want you to come to our neighborhoods, enjoy our beautiful parks, but in complete safety. ”
He added: “We know we are a destination city. Many of us wanted this to happen and it’s finally here, but we need to do it responsibly. We are not going to allow people to disrespect our community, our business owners and our residents. ”
The crackdown could, however, pave the way for increased tensions between the DPD and citizens.
In April, five legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild announced a lawsuit against DPD, claiming their civil rights were violated when officers attacked them while they were documenting protests against police brutality last summer. , in which DPD used tear gas, batons, riot shields, and other cases of excessive force on the complainants. The city used force in response to violations of curfews it imposed during the protests.
The plaintiffs seek $ 75,000 in damages and an injunction to prevent further harm against the observers.
You can follow the press conference on the city’s Facebook page or below.
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