Protesters Demand Cops Answer for ‘Injustice’ of Shooting Death, Police Release Footage Showing Suspect Fired First

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Detroit’s police chief and mayor stood behind police officers Friday after a young black man was killed by police, triggering massive protests.

“Rapid response call to action: DPD shot and killed a 19 year old today. Our plans have changed so that the movement can respond to this injustice. Get to 7446 w McNichols rd as soon as you can,” the activist group Detroit Will Breathe tweeted.

But within hours of the shooting, Detroit Police Chief James Craig released a video of the incident in which Hakim Littleton, 20, was killed.

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Warning: The video below contains violent images that some viewers may find disturbing. 

As Craig explained it, officers were in the area investigating a previous shooting that was determined to be gang-related, The Detroit News reported.

Police prepared to arrest a man who was with Littleton, Craig said, but had no plans to interact with Littleton, he said.

The video shows that the man police wanted to detain, later identified as Darnell Sylvester, drops to his knees to comply, while Littleton reaches his left arm into his pants pocket.

When his hand emerges, it appears to be holding a handgun.

The video shows smoke coming from the gun.

The police returned fire, and Littleton appears to be trying to shoot back as he falls.

Craig said police and Littleton were about three feet apart when the shooting started.

It was “simply a miracle” that the nearest officer was not shot in the head, he added, according to Fox News.

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Do you think this shooting was justified?

According to Craig, Littleton said: “You are not going to take my man, in other words, take him into custody,” before he opened fire.

“He was using a .25 caliber blue steel automatic pistol. This comes from body cameras as well as an in dash camera from one of our scouts,” Craig said. “There were eight shots fired in five seconds. Four fired by three officers, one officer fired two shots, and then four shots fired by the suspect.

“As Littleton raised the gun in his left hand he was aiming at the head of the officer,” Craig said.

He did not identify the officer he was speaking of by name.

“This officer is a hero even though he did not have his gun out. He put his own life in jeopardy when he was being fired upon,” Craig said.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tweeted his support for police’s actions in this incident, saying that the “video is clear that the officer was suddenly and unexpectedly fired upon.

“Public confidence requires citizens to be able to judge for themselves the actions of our officers. I commend Chief Craig for moving so quickly to release the video publicly,” he added.

Despite the video, witnesses insisted that Littleton did not have a gun, according to WJBK-TV.

Protesters grew “very violent,” Craig said, noting that rocks and bottles were thrown at 12th precinct police officers.

Democratic state Rep. LaTanya Garrett demanded “an independent and transparent investigation” into the shooting.

“Although I applaud Detroit Police Chief James Craig for releasing the dashcam and bodycam video for the public to review, there is no need for a rush to judgment, for a life has been lost and (lives) will be forever changed from this tragic event,” she said.

“I call upon the Mayor and the Chief of Police to ensure this matter is properly investigated in a fair and impartial manner,” Garrett added.

“If outside law enforcement agencies are needed to oversee this matter to ensure an independent and transparent investigation, I call upon our city leaders to ensure this is done expeditiously. The family of the deceased deserves answers, as well as our community.”

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