Chief to open investigation into Elrick shove caught on camera - KMSP-TV

Chief to open investigation into Elrick shove caught on camera

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FOX 2's M.L. Elrick, seen here being shoved Tuesday night. FOX 2's M.L. Elrick, seen here being shoved Tuesday night.
Chief James Craig addressed the incident on Wednesday. Chief James Craig addressed the incident on Wednesday.

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Detroit Police Chief James Craig plans to open an internal investigation following an incident caught on camera between officers and FOX 2 investigative reporter M.L. Elrick.

Elrick was shoved against a wall by officers as he tried to question City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. Tuesday night at a city-wide community meeting.

Craig said Wednesday he didn't believe excessive force was used against Elrick, but the video warrants a further investigation.

Craig says the sergeant in question has been assigned to other duties.

Elrick discussed the incident with the chief.

VIDEO: Watch the discussion between Chief Craig and Elrick in the video player above or read the story below

ELRICK: When you saw that video that was your first thought?

CHIEF CRAIG: I looked at it and I could see that there was a force incident. I recognize that, but what took us to the point of using force?

ELRICK:  Frankly, the reason why there's no more video before that, is we had no idea that was going to happen. If we thought that was going to happen we'd have had cameras rolling when we entered the building.

CHIEF CRAIG: Understand.

ELRICK: Is there any situation that would justify use of force to prevent someone from asking a question of an elected official in this city?

CHIEF CRAIG: If you're just simply using that scenario, I would say to you, no, there shouldn't be any force used.

The chief says investigators are trying to determine whether the Council's bodyguards went too far. As both a reporter on and a witness to the incident, Elrick agreed to the department's request to give a statement. Police seem to be taking the matter seriously.

CHIEF CRAIG: I have some concerns and we're in the process of taking a real close look at that.

If investigators find wrong-doing the officers could be ordered to undergo training, receive a reprimand, be fined or even charged with a crime. But, it's unlikely things will go that far.

CHIEF CRAIG: We don't see an allegation of excessive force based on what we know about it right now.

ELRICK:  If you were asking me what happened, it wouldn't be excessive force, it would be inappropriate conduct. It would be conduct unbecoming this uniform, that badge that so many of these guys defend and are proud to wear.

The chief says he hasn't seen anything to indicate that Councilman Cushingberry told police to interfere with Elrick.

City Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins declined to comment on Tuesday night's dust-up, but says she's concerned about the Council's image.

"Well, anything that's a distraction from city business is, you know, is disturbing," she says. "My hope is that this new council will continue to move the ball forward and we'll get past these early distractions."

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