The video, shot by protester Ethan Ketner, shows a DPD SUV driving through a crowd of protesters after some climbed onto the hood of the vehicle. After a few seconds, the car accelerates, throwing some protesters back and throwing others on the hood.
Two videos of the dashcam – posted on the department’s Twitter – show what happened from the officers ’point of view. One video was taken from the spot where the DPD vehicle was accused of running the protesters when the vehicle became surrounded. The video shows protesters surrounding the car, with one person sitting on top of the car, the signs then covering the instrument panel before the vehicle rolled through a crowd of people.
Another dashcam video was taken from another police vehicle nearby and partially records that the DPD vehicle in question was surrounded by protesters and then accelerated.
At least one protester appears to have been left on a howitzer, hung by the vehicle as it accelerated, and later thrown off it as the car left.
John Roach, media director of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, declined to comment and forwarded all communication about the incident to the police department.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig addressed the incident Monday at a news conference, noting that investigators “did not even have 24 hours” in the investigation. He preliminarily defended the officers ’actions in leaving the place after they were driven out of the crowd.
“The officers did the right thing,” he said. “They safely left the site and then after they left to avoid further damage, the protesters then left without further incident.”
The video shows the rear window of the police vehicle intact for about 14 seconds, but it appears to have a large hole 30 seconds later. Craig said that, at this point, video analysis does not show what shattered the rear window, but that there are reports that it was shattered by a skateboard. He said the protest over the omission of police was peaceful until protesters surrounded the car.
“We knew then that we didn’t need to put ourselves in a position where a group of criminals would surround and attack a car,” he said. “In this case, they predicted – they just blocked the diversion route, but they didn’t think they would get the reaction they got.”
Craig added that the two officers in the car told investigators they believed they could have been shot in them, prompting them to flee the scene of the accident. No police officers – either in the car or otherwise patrolling the protests – were injured, he said.
Ketner said the protests were peaceful until four cars blocked the protesters’ path, urging them to surround the vehicles until officers cleared the road.
“Just as we passed all four, the driver turned around and started advancing towards us,” Ketner told CNN on Monday. “I can’t explain how or why he thought it was a good idea, but he decided to do it. There were other vehicles on Verner (Highway) and if they tried to claim they managed to (pass) us, they could ship another officer (down the road). “
Ketner said police did not instruct protesters to get out of the way before the vehicle accelerated into the crowd.
“After that, we had a team of doctors – volunteers from hospitals across the state coming out – they took all the injured, examined them, patched them up and since then everyone who wasn’t injured could march. Another hour, an hour and a half back to the park,” He said.