Jul 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Detroit police officer accused of shooting 3 journalists with rubber bullets charged

A Detroit Police officer uses tear-gas on protesters during a demonstration in Detroit, Michigan late May 29
A Detroit Police officer uses tear-gas on protesters during a demonstration in Detroit in late May. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

A Detroit police officer faces felony assault charges over allegations that he fired rubber pellets at three photojournalists covering a protest against police brutality in the city in May, the Detroit Free Press first reported Monday.

Details: Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement MLive's Nicole Hester, 30, and freelancers Matthew Hatcher, 29, and Seth Herald, 28, each sustained injuries while wearing press credentials and having identified themselves when Cpl. Daniel Debono, 32, allegedly fired on them.

"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. They were a threat to no one. There are simply no explicable reasons why the alleged actions of this officer were taken."
ā€” Statement by Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy
  • The photojournalists, who were covering protests triggered by the May 25 death of George Floyd, "had their hands up, asking to cross the street" during the incident early on May 31, the statement alleges.
  • Hester "sustained the most injuries to her face, neck, arms and legs," according to the statement. Hatcher's face and ribs were bruised, and he was left with a mark on his nose, while Herald's wrist was wounded.

What they're saying: The Detroit Police Officers Association has yet to comment on the allegations, but the city's police chief James Craig told a news conference Monday that Debono was suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the department's investigation.

  • Each of Debono's charges carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Go deeper: Tear gas and rubber bullets: Attacks on journalists investigated

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