Detroit Police Officer charged with 17 crimes: gun possession, resisting, felonies

A Detroit Police Officer will be arraigned Wednesday on charges that he was holding a gun while drunk just hours after being placed on restricted duty for a fatal police shooting.

Officer Jerold Blanding was put on restricted duty/no gun status on January 14th while he was under investigation for the fatal shooting of a Detroit man in February of last year.

According to the charges, after being placed on restrictive duty, Blanding was at the scene of a car accident on Puritan just a few hours later. Blanding wasn't involved in the accident but knew the victim. 

Officers tried to speak with him and said that Blanding had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. Officers said Blanding also had three guns in his possession and resisted and obstructed police as they were trying to help the victim.

Officer Blanding has been involved in three shootings during his 23 years with DPD both on and off duty.

Blanding was found to have acted in self-defense in the death of Raynard Burton, a 19-year-old Detroit man who was shot and killed last February.

On Wednesday, almost three months after that incident, Blanding was charged with three counts of possession of a gun while under the influence, eight counts of resisting and obstructing, and six counts of felony firearms.

"It's always troubling when a member of the department gets charged in this manner," Chief James Craig said.

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Craig said Blanding has been suspended with pay but is asking the review board to suspend him without pay.

This isn't the first time Blanding has been in the spotlight for his behavior on and off duty.

  • In 1998 while off duty - he shot a man who was mistakenly trying to get into Blanding's vehicle at an ATM.
  • In 2015, again off duty, he shot a man's vehicle 12 times during a domestic dispute, he says it was self defense.
  • In 2017 he fatally shot a 19 year old following a car chase in a stolen and foot chase into the yard of an abandoned home.

"Because someone's involved in an officer-involved shooting does not necessarily mean it's a bad shooting," Craig said. 

He hasn't been charged in any of the cases - but his department faced excessive force civil suits for the shootings. However, he was put on restricted duty for the 2017 fatal shooting.

Mark Diaz, the president of the police union, said he was protecting himself in all of those shootings.

"Those are justified shootings. We're talking about a police officer that operates at the high speed that Officer Blanding operates in the last 24 years. I can tell you it's not uncommon for him to be confronted with situation where it would require the use of fatal force to protect his life and the life of others," Diaz said. 

Diaz said the case should be tried in the court, not the court of public opinion.

Blanding is out on bond and is ordered not to drink or possess any guns.