A Michigan police detective has been demoted after he lashed out at protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement in a social media post, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Authorities also launched an internal investigation, according to reports.
“I became aware the night of the posting on social media,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday, according to the Free Press. “And once becoming aware of it I notified my team so we could have a discussion. And based on the preliminary discussion assessment of it, Detective Weekley has been de-appointed down from the ranking of detective to police officer and he has been reassigned and we have opened an internal investigation into the matter.”
WXYZ, an ABC affiliate, reported that Nathan Weekley’s post was a reaction to last week’s fatal shooting in Dallas, in which five officers were killed. Tensions have escalated nationwide in recent days after the shooting and incidents in Minnesota and Louisiana, in which black men were fatally shot by police.
The Free Press reports:
Craig said although he took “very quick action” in demoting and reassigning Weekley from a special detective assignment, he reiterated the officer is still entitled to a due process and fair investigation.“We have to let that run,” Craig said. “That’s by contract and certainly out of fairness. We are aware that he posted and he has since removed the post and we recognize that it is still trending. We are concerned as a organization because it does tend to undermine all of the good work that I just described that we’re doing in the community.”
“In these times, we believe that the chief should take swift and direction action,” the Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, told The Washington Post in a phone interview Monday. “So we’re glad that the chief has decided to demote him, and he will not be on the streets of Detroit. However, this type of talk should be no-tolerance, especially in light of what we’ve seen happen across the country.”
The Facebook post could leave other officers in the city feeling unsettled, concerned that residents might associate it with them, Williams said. He also praised Detroit police officers for how they have interacted with protesters in the community, saying that officers have at times exhibited “a serious amount of patience.”
“And that’s to be commended,” Williams said. “Which highlights even further why we believe there’s no room for this.”
A message left with the Detroit Police Officers Association was not immediately returned.
“We don’t want to see a vacation, we don’t want to see administrative leave … we want to see termination,” Williams said. “If that means that the city of Detroit has to fight the union, then that just means the city of Detroit should fight the union.”
Local outlets in Detroit also reported that four people have been arrested after alleged threats issued over social media, which were directed at law enforcement — something Williams also spoke out against.
“Whether it’s somebody who incites it from the police side or whether it’s somebody who incites it from the community side, we don’t need it and we don’t want it,” Williams said. “It’s no-tolerance.”