CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Detroit Police Chief James Craig has 44 years of experience in law enforcement, including 28 years in Los Angeles. Craig joined NewsNation to share his thoughts on the announcement from the Breonna Taylor case and the following unrest throughout the country.
In the interview with NewsNation Anchor Rob Nelson, Craig described the Taylor case as “tragic” but condemned the violence, looting and made a plea to consider the “entire account” of the events that unfolded during the drug bust gone awry on March 13.
“You know we’ve always supported the right to free speech and peaceful protest,” said Craig. “But I have to tell you when you start using violence that’s a nonstarter at least in Detroit. It’s not by accident that we didn’t have burning and looting because we made a very distinct statement: we’re not going to tolerate it.”
“This must stop,” the chief added in regards to the retaliation encountered by law enforcement in major cities across the countries.
In terms of the indictment against lone officer Brett Hankison, who faces up to five years in prison if convicted, Craig offered: “I support Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. I mean, he’s right.”
Cameron stated after the grand jury announcement that he was within the confines of the law. “According to Kentucky law, the use of force by (Officers Jonathan) Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss. Breonna Taylor’s death.”
When asked by Nelson if Craig understood the “source of frustration” for many, he replied:
“I can tell you I do understand the frustration,” he said. “I worked through the Rodney King situation so I’m keenly aware of the frustration. I’m an African American man who grew up in urban communities. I understand it but one thing that you left out of the conversation is that there was an armed suspect inside the home that was firing back at officers.”
“There’s a lot that none of us know because this was a grand jury,” added Craig. “Even the Kentucky AG himself said there are things he cannot disclose because of confidentiality. We don’t know everything but what we do know is that shots were fired at the officers and the officers returned fire.”
“We need to tell the story totally instead of just putting out bits and pieces,” he said.
When asked about the lack of body cameras on the Louisville police officers, Craig answered, “I am an avid supporter of body cameras.”