On Nov. 9, a Detroit drug bust that started out like a bad joke ended with an internal investigation.
Special ops officers from the 11th precinct were driving along Andover near Seven Mile when they observed two seedy characters that appeared to be selling drugs. Being police officers, they did what they were supposed to do — they arrested them.
It was then that the dedicated special ops officers from the 11th precinct proceeded to arrest the dedicated undercover officers from the 12th precinct. Laughable, right? The two officers from the 12th precinct who were forced to the ground at gunpoint didn’t think so.
The two special ops officers from the 12th precinct had been attempting a “push-off” in a well-known hotbed of illegal drug activity. This is when officers go undercover to lure potential patrons who want to buy drugs. At the same time, special ops officers from the 11th precinct had coordinated a raid on an Andover residence just a few houses down from the undercover operation.
Instead of apologizing to one another, chalking the situation up to poor communication, and going back to work, the officers chose that moment to start throwing punches — not at drug dealers or violent criminals, but at each other. Who said that turf wars were reserved for gangs?
As more officers from the 11th precinct arrived to assist with the Andover raid, it did little to break up the interdepartmental brawl. Adding to the confusion, the nearby team backing up the undercover 12th precinct officers made an appearance. As all this was going on, more officers were attempting to conduct a search of the house.
Even with officers from both precincts at the scene, the fight continued to escalate. According to Fox News, at least one officer had to be taken to the hospital after the men were separated. There are reports of a body camera being used to investigate the incident, but the alleged footage has yet to surface publicly. The officers involved in the altercation have been removed from duty for the time being.
At a news conference on Monday, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said, “This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department.”
Craig also pointed out that someone from the 12th precinct should have let someone from the 11th precinct know that they’d be working in the area. President of the Detroit Police Officers Association Mark Diaz tried to reconcile the situation, saying, “When you have both sides of this matter, both doing their jobs to control the scene, you can imagine the chaos. They fortunately got control of the scene together and a potentially dangerous situation didn’t turn out as bad as it could have.”
[Featured Image by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]