DPD Chief addresses violent crime uptick, Royal Oak approves cannabis sales, Whitmer's COVID press conference

Detroit Police have had a very busy five weeks. The department has seized 537 illegal firearms and made 473 carrying concealed weapon arrests. In a two day period, they conducted 313 traffic stops, issued 430 citations, towed 93 vehicles, made 28 felony arrests. However, the statistic that stands out the most is three - the number of police-involved shootings.

On Monday, following the department's third incident of an officer discharging their firearm and striking a suspect, Chief James Craig held a Monday press conference to contextualize what driving up violence in the city of Detroit. "As I indicated, this is not isolated to Detroit," he said. "There are other cities that, when you hear me talk about COVID - what's the common denominator? Is it because someone's been locked down in their home? Or is it because of early release? Individuals who are being released and, frankly and candidly, are we putting enough thought in who gets released from custody?"

Craig has increasingly found himself and the Detroit Police Department between the societal demands of scaling back law enforcement while keeping to the city's promise of protecting citizens and arresting bad actors. Over the last few weekends, there have been dozens of nonfatal shootings and several homicides. Notably was the pairing of quadruple shootings that have now been linked to the deaths of four residents.

On Monday, reporters were shown the police footage of when officers attempted to arrest one of the suspects involved in one of those quadruple shooting incidents. After officers attempted to arrest the suspect, on July 23, the footage shows the man and two others escape in a vehicle - leading to a high-speed pursuit through many of the city's neighborhoods. 

After the suspects crashed into a tree and attempted to run, officers chased after them. The man they were looking for, armed and pointing the gun at officers as he attempted to escape, would eventually be hit by a single bullet from an officer. The whole scene doesn't take more than a few seconds, but underscored all of the decisions that go through an officer's mind when they're engaging an armed suspect, Craig said. 

"We ask our officers to follow-up on these very violent crimes - again four teenagers shot, we remember it - and they did just what we asked them to do, as they always do," Craig said. 

One of the teens injured would die over the weekend, while the other three remain hospitalized. 

The local violence is beginning to catch the eye of federal law enforcement, who will be deployed to Detroit over the next few weeks per order from President Donald Trump. 

Officials from the Justice Department coming to police the city has further complicated the DPD's role in the community. While Craig and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan have both reflected and commended the city's relationship with its police force. However, with news out of Portland, Oregon revealing a narrative of peaceful protesters being detained by federal officers without a warrant and being placed in unmarked vehicles, citizens are now skeptical of any presence of the federal agents coming to the city.

Craig has pushed back on the fears that have grown in response to Trump's decision. 

"We have not asked for the federal government to come in and manage our protests. Period," he said. "...So as a lot of the cities are experiencing an uptick in violence, what they did is said, 'We're going to give you more. We're going to enhance what we're already doing.' So, we're hopeful - and this is the reason why it's important for me to talk about the number of guns we're taking off of criminals."

Elderly man repeatedly struck in Detroit nursing home dies

An elderly resident of a Detroit nursing home who became the victim of repeated blows from a 20-year-old placed in his room during the pandemic has died. According to his family, Norman Bledsoe had become depressed and had stopped eating after he was allegedly beaten by Jaden Hayden. 

The brutal incident led to four broken fingers, broken ribs, and a broken jaw. Bledsoe's family is planning on suing the Westwood Nursing Center.

The two had been paired up after Hayden was diagnosed with COVID-19 and needed to be quarantined. Per Michigan policy at the time, infected people were sent to nursing homes as a way to isolate them from the rest of the state to avoid spreading the virus further. The protocol drew strong criticism from many due to the residents who already lived in nursing homes.

Hayden, who was caught on camera repeatedly striking the 75-year-old, was charged with assault and credit card theft. He is expected to appear in court Thursday to determine if he's mentally fit to stand trial.

His father told FOX 2 in May that his son had several mental health concerns that had grown at home. In addition to autism, he says he wasn't sleeping, was feeling anxious and was hearing voices when he called from a group home in Chelsea.

Royal Oak City Commission approves sales of cannabis

By a 5-2 vote, the city commission of Royal Oak approved ordinances that would allow for recreational cannabis to be sold in the city.

During a four-hour zoom call Monday night, city commissioners offered their take and listened to input from residents as they debated the feasibility of allowing pot shops to be built in the city. 

A controversial move that's been debated for more a year, the city commission said dispensaries would be prohibited from being built within 1,000 feet of schools. However, many residents upset by the decision argued that low property values and increased crime would follow the opening of the businesses.

The Mayor Pro Tem pushed back on that sentiment, saying dispensaries these days are well-regulated and fully licensed. 

"Those are the cities that already have dispensaries already operating in their community," said Patricia Paruch. "Do we hear new stories of 'oh, declining property values and crime' but is any of the criminal activity in these communities related to these dispensaries? No, we don't."

The city has outlined four potential sites where the dispensaries could be built. Two would be along Woodward Avenue and two would be in industrial areas. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to update Michigan on coronavirus response

The Michigan governor is holding another COVID-19 press conference Tuesday. She'll be joined by MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at 2 p.m.

It's tricky to say what the next move is for Whitmer. She issued a stern warning to citizens that if cases continued to climb as a result of large unnecessary gatherings where proper safety rules like social distancing and face masks aren't allowed, she would continue closing the state back up.

Since then, cases have risen more gradually. Case rates have now fluctuated between mid-400s and more than 1,000 on Sunday - however, that report came with a disclaimer of including cases that were delayed on Saturday. 

Michigan's COVID-19 case rate began rising around the same time many other states experienced similar trends. However, Michigan's rate of new cases is dwarfed by the spiking numbers reported in Florida, Texas and Arizona. Hospitalizations have risen slightly in Michigan, but new deaths linked to the virus remain stagnate. 

With the fall school year looming, many districts have released plans to resume classes. Most are utilizing a combination of virtual and in-person classes while in Detroit, protesters have demanded the district end summer schools. Last week, a judge ordered that the lessons can continue, but not without testing.

Friday, the first two positive tests of Detroit summer school students were reported. There are 630 students who attend and on Monday, classes resumed in Detroit after every student had been tested.

Large blaze tears through home on Canfield

A wicked blaze tore up a vacant home on the 8800 Block of Canfield Tuesday morning. 

Detroit Fire crews were at the home around 3 in the morning battling the blaze. 

While no one was injured, it's unclear what started the fire.

Daily Forecast

A big drop in humidity is on the way as few showers are forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday. A high of 86 degrees is expected today.

‘Not made on this earth’: Top-secret Pentagon UFO task force reportedly expected to reveal some findings

According to a recent report from the New York Times, a top-secret Pentagon program has been conducting classified briefings for over a decade, analyzing various encounters between military craft and unidentified aerial vehicles. 

According to the Times, the Pentagon stated that the program was disbanded, but a Senate committee report last month revealed spending on a program called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force.

It was reported in late June that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had requested a detailed analysis of the task force’s findings.