Detroit police releasing video briefings of critical officer-involved incidents

In an effort to be more transparent, the Detroit Police Department launched a new policy to package and release footage within 45 days of an incident where officers used force.

A critical incident community briefing was released by DPD on Thursday of an officer-involved shooting that occurred during a funeral repast on Oct. 20, kick-starting the initiative.

The shooting took place outside the venue at 18326 Van Dyke on Detroit's east side. A large fight broke out during the repast, a meal held after a funeral, which led to the shooting.

"These briefings will include maps, 9-1-1 calls, body-worn and in-car video, so that the community will have a preliminary understanding of what the officers responded to and were faced with, as well as, the outcome of the incident including explanations of the investigation process," according to DPD. 

Gunshots could be heard during the 9-1-1 call, before police showed up. 

Shortly after, two officers arrived at the scene to find two men shooting – one standing in the street, and another shooting from behind a car.

The officers split up, each taking a shooter, according to police. The suspect in the street was arrested. However, the suspect behind the car refused commands.

One of the officers then fired four shots, striking the suspect who refused to drop his weapon, as seen in the police footage. The suspect survived.

The repast was held to remember hit-and-run victim Charmel Montgomery, who was killed crossing Grand River on Oct. 1. She was leaving Lovelee Vibes Grill on Detroit’s west side, crossing Grand River, when she was struck by a car.

Per protocol, the incident is currently being independently investigated by an outside agency, and an internal review is being conducted.

"These are highly emotional cases anytime an officer has to use force," DPD chief James White said. "It's never a pretty sight. Force is never pretty."

To protect some people's identities, certain sections of the video have been intentionally blurred, and voices have been distorted. White explained that these measures are important since these cases often have the potential to go to court, and the video serves as crucial evidence.

The initiative is inspired by the Los Angeles Police Department.

"I don't think people really know what these officers deal with. I think we think we know because we see snippets, or we watch television, but the reality of it is a split second life decisions, life to finding decisions, life, and death decisions.

The release of these briefings will have no effect on requesting FOIAs, according to police.

When there are critical incidents involving police officers, the video briefings will be posted on the DPD YouTube page