A Detroit police officer accused of shooting three photojournalists with rubber bullets amid protest-related violence in May faces charges of felony assault.
Detroit Police Corporal Daniel Debono, 32, faces multiple counts of felonious assault for allegedly firing non-lethal pellets at the journalists, inflicting bruises and other injuries, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.
“The evidence shows that these three journalists were leaving the protest area and that there was almost no one else on the street where they were,” Worthy said. “There are simply no explicable reasons why the alleged actions of this officer were taken.”
Shortly after midnight on May 31 in downtown Detroit, MLive.com photojournalist Nicole Hester, 30, and two independent photojournalists, Seth Herald, 28, and Matthew Hatcher, 29, encountered Debono and two other officers, MLive previously reported. The report indicated the journalists were trying to return to their car after documenting protests.
Worthy said that each of the photojournalists was wearing press credentials, identified themselves as news media, and raised their hands as they asked to cross the street. Debono then allegedly fired at and struck all three.
Hester was struck in the face, neck, arms, and legs, according to The Detroit Free Press. Heralds sustained an injury to his wrist, while Hatcher sustained bruises to face and rib injuries.
“We were just trying to leave the scene,” Hester said, MLive reported. “We werent doing anything. We werent charging at them.”
John Hiner, vice president of content for MLive Media Group, called the incident “outrageous” and called for a probe of the incident.
“Journalists have a right and an obligation to be on the scene of breaking news, without being targeted. These journalists had credentials, identified themselves and were not posing any threat. We are demanding a full investigation of this unprovoked attack, and assurances that journalists can do their jobs without threat or harassment,” he said, according to the report.
Detroit Police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said Monday in an email to The Associated Press that an investigation was immediately launched after the department learned about the incident, and Police Chief James Craig suspended the officer.
“Its important that we do not paint an entire organization with a broad brush,” Kirkwood said. “The actions of this officer should not reflect the vast majority of the men and women who have been working and responded to the protest appropriately for the last (eight) weeks.”
Craig said Monday the incident prompted reviews and training sessions within the departmRead More From Source