Body cam video released by the Detroit Police Department captured the tense moments as uniformed officers raided a home filled with undercover cops posing as drug dealers.
The incident resulted in two injured police officers, a special operations supervisor being reassigned and an investigation being launched into what led to the botched sting.
“This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday during a news conference. “In fact, it’s probably one of the most disappointing things I’ve experienced in my entire 40-year career.”
Police from the department’s 11th precinct had planned to conduct the raid of house in their region on Nov. 8 that was suspected of being used to sell drugs.
Unaware of an undercover operation carried out in the home by 12th precinct cops, the armed officers conducting the raid moved in.
The uniformed officers confronted a pair of men a few doors down from the home at the centre of the raid. Those men, who were actually undercover police from the 12th precinct, were forced to the ground and a shotgun was pointed at them.
That’s when police acted on their search warrant and raided the home, confronting several officers inside the home.
The video captured several officer pushing and shoving. “Don’t put your hand on your guns,” one officer can be heard saying on the video.
“At one point during this situation, one officer grabbed another,” Chief Craig said, adding that’s when punches began to fly.
“[The] supervisor did not have control of the situation … and had a tendency to get the officers from the 12th Precinct excited to the point we have this very embarrassing situation,” Craig said.
One officer suffered injuries to his mouth, while another sustained an injured eye — leaving the department with a black eye of its own.
“I am thankful that no one was more seriously injured,” Craig said.
A similar 1986 incident of mistaken identity resulted in the deaths of Officer Jack Buffa and Officer Mark Radden. Buffa and his partner were in plain clothes when they raided a home. That’s when Radden and his partner, also not in uniform, responded to the home after reports of gunfire.
The two pairs of officers encountered each other and Buff and Radden suffered fatal injuries in a gunfight.
An internal investigation is now reviewing all the bodycam video and is looking into what caused the communication breakdown.
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