Detroit’s police chief said he would “love” to see Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib step down after her call for abolishing police departments following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Minnesota.
“I’d love to see her resign, I’d throw her a goodbye party,” Chief James Craig told the Fox 2 TV station in Detroit of Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Sunday. “Let her go. … Let me just say this, when you talk about abolishing police, incarceration, you talk about safe cities – what do you think the residents in Detroit want?”
“If I made comments on par with hers, they’d be calling for my resignation,” he said.
James also had choice words for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who stood among protesters in Minnesota early Sunday and told them to “get more confrontational” if former police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the killing of George Floyd.
“I will not let someone like a Tlaib or a Maxine Waters paint our profession with a broad brush. Are you aware of what the other US rep said as recent as yesterday? You know what she said in response to Brooklyn Center? … ‘Get more confrontational,’” Craig said.
“I was the first chief in the nation that came out and denounced the murderous cop who killed George Floyd,” he said. “We support free speech, we support social justice, but are we encouraging, we make reckless statements like that, to create criminal behavior?”
Waters told the crowd of protesters that “we’ve got to stay in the streets and demand justice.”
Tlaib, whose district includes parts of Detroit, tore into police after the shooting of 20-year-old Wright, a black man, who was shot by officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Potter, who has since stepped down from the police department, said she mistook her service weapon for a Taser when she fired on Wright as he tried to drive away from officers on April 11.
The next day, Tlaib tweeted, “It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence.
“I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” she continued, reiterating her position that the police, as currently trained, cannot protect their communities and must be defunded and replaced.
Other members of the “Squad,” including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who also have called for defunding the police, posted similar comments supporting their colleague.
But other Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — distanced themselves from Tlaib’s remarks.
On Sunday, Tlaib doubled down.
“I’m done especially because the structure in place for policing has left more of our black neighbors and our brown communities feeling so incredibly unsafe … it’s unfair … there’s no accountability,” Tlaib told Fox 2.
Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Closing arguments are continuing Monday in the Chauvin trial.