DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit police officers fighting crime ended up battling each other after an undercover mix-up last month.
Chief James Craig called it probably the most embarrassing thing he had seen in the department. It happened three weeks ago during a drug raid but now we are learning this may have all stemmed from bad blood between officers from two different precincts.
"What was going on before this happened?" Craig said. "And one of the things I'm looking at, is was there friction between these two units.
The bad blood may have been brewing between special operations units from the 11th and 12th precincts before cops came to blows back in November.
It is something Craig is zeroing in on as Internal Affairs nears the end of its investigation into the fisticuffs that left DPD with a black eye.
"I'm not just looking at the officers, I'm also looking at supervision and what role if any, did management play in preventing it," he said.
A source close to the investigation tells FOX 2 the beef between the two special ops units may have been one-sided.
The 12th Precinct crew was working undercover in the area of Seven Mile and I-75 the night in question. It's a neighborhood in the 11th Precinct.
According to the source, the 12th Precinct crew regularly made several arrests and took drugs and guns off the street there.
"There can be bad blood if the communication is not there," said Ralph Godbee. "Your commander is probably asking you, 'Hey what the hell is going on, how did you not have this information, do you have soi's (sources of information) that they've cultivated?'
"So there are a lot of things that go into that and there's probably a little professional pride that goes into the fact, that somebody is having more success or potentially, found something of value in your precinct that you didn't find."
And while sources say higher-ups from the 12th Precinct would routinely notify the 11th when they were working in their area, Craig says there was a breakdown in communication the night this happened.
"There were some things that on the part of supervision out of the 12th Precinct was not done," Craig said. "Number one, you go into an adjoining area you don't notify that area that you're going to be engaging in an undercover operation."
And that's where things could've taken a turn for the worst. Before punches were thrown, guns were drawn.
Officers from the 11th Precinct held undercover cops from the 12th Precinct at gunpoint even after those undercover officers identified themselves as police.
Two officers from the 11th and 12th precincts were put on restrictive duty. The supervisor in question was also disciplined.
Now that internal investigation is ongoing but it could be wrapped up by this time next week.