DETROIT — A shooting in a northwest Detroit neighborhood Friday afternoon touched off protests here, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering in an area near where police officers fatally shot a 20-year-old man during a daylight arrest on a neighborhood sidewalk.

Protest signs and megaphones dotted the group of people who came from other parts of the city, as residents faced off against officers, at times allegedly throwing rocks and bottles at police. Officers in riot gear arrived around 5 p.m., and bystanders said they fired tear gas canisters into the crowd to disperse the demonstrators. At least eight people were arrested, according to Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Protesters demanded information about the shooting, and police responded almost immediately, releasing video clips from dashboard cameras and body cameras showing the shooting. Craig called the release of footage an unprecedented move to quickly dispel rumors. Police identified the man as Hakim Littleton, whom the videos show firing a pistol at police at close range before officers return fire.

Chief Craig gives an update regarding the officer involved shooting that occurred on the city’s west side. Video of incident was also provided with an explanation.

Posted by Detroit Police Department on Friday, July 10, 2020

The confrontation began around 12:35 p.m. Friday in west Detroit, when officers arrested a second man who had an outstanding warrant for a drug-related felony charge, police said.

Littleton, who police said was on probation for an unarmed robbery and a weapons charge, was standing on the sidewalk nearby as police handcuffed the other man. Littleton reached into his shorts, drew a pistol and fired at an officer standing next to him, according to footage from the scene released by police.

The shots missed. It was “simply a miracle” the police officer was not struck in the head, Craig said.

Police and Littleton then exchanged gunfire: Eight shots were fired in quick succession, Craig said, with four from Littleton’s weapon and four from three police officers. The body camera video shows an officer charging at Littleton, who falls to the ground.

“Mr. Littleton continued firing his weapon even as he was on the ground,” Craig said. Four bullet casings recovered at the scene match a .25-caliber Beretta pistol that police say Littleton fired.

Police shot Littleton four times, including at least once in the head. He was pronounced dead at a Detroit hospital.

The officers were not injured. The department has placed them on administrative leave while an investigation continues.

A man who told local media that Littleton was his nephew described the claims that had been circulating in his community.

“We hear one thing from the police, and another thing from the community. The community told us that the police pulled up, told [him] to get on the ground. He put his hands up, and … shot him in the back of the head,” the man, Asar Amenra, told the Detroit Free Press.

The police chief said he was “deeply concerned over the erroneous information” spreading on social media and among demonstrators.

“Once protesters got on the scene, there was significant agitation,” Craig said, including taunts that police had executed the suspect.

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