DPD precinct fight during drug raid due to lack of communication, chief says

- Detroit police addressed an incident last week that caused two different precincts to break out in a fight in an undercover drug raid gone awry.

In what Detroit Police Chief James Craig calls a lack of communication, an altercation between officers of the 11th and 12th precincts broke out last Thursday on the 19000 block of Andover on Detroit's east side.

Right now two officers, one from each precinct, are on restrictive duty and a supervisor from the 12th Precinct has been moved off the special operations team, as Internal Affairs investigates.

Craig says the suspected drug location is on the border of the 11th and 12th precincts, but technically in the 11th. Together, the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and both precincts came up with a strategy on how to abate the location.

It began when the 11th Precinct obtained a search warrant on Thursday. As the officers made their way to home, they confronted two people about six doors down from the intended location.

Craig says they didn't realize the two people were 12th Precinct officers in plain clothes. The 11th Precinct officers ordered them to the ground and at one point, pointed a shotgun at the plainclothes officers.

Once that brief encounter was over, Craig says the 11th Precinct went on to execute the search warrant.

"This is when it starts to go terribly wrong," he said.

At some point, the 12th Precinct officers entered the home and there was a dispute, including arguing, pushing and shoving.

"One officer grabbed another ... and put him in what is described to me as a headlock, and then there was a subsequent punch by the same officer as that officer was breaking away. The officer then responded with a single punch," Craig said.

There were two injuries - one officer punched in the lip and the other in the eye. Both were separately treated and released. Those officers are now on restricted duty, and a supervisor was reassigned from special operations, pending the outcome of the investigation.

"It appears that this supervisor did not have control of the situation and had a tendency to get the officers from the 12th Precinct excited to the point we have this very embarrassing situation," Craig said.

RELATED: Detroit police officers fight each other in undercover op gone wrong

Craig was asked if at any point the officers in plain clothes made it clear they were officers. He says as the shot gun was pointed at them, the officers on the ground did say "police."

But he says often times, when officers are approaching a location, a suspect will call out "police" to alert people inside that police are approaching so they can dispose of evidence. That's one theory, Craig says, but again, the investigation is still ongoing.

DPD says they do plan on submitting the case to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for review and evaluation of the conduct, and that possible charges could be assault and battery.

The chief said the department has conducted 1,038 narcotic raids so far this year.

As for the raid, there was one person inside the home who was not arrested but a handgun was recovered. No other details were discussed at this time.

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