Heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered

Detroit Police Say Community Relations Are Strong. That Hasn’t Always Been True.

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Journalist Bryce Huffman spoke with Black former police officers about the racial terror the Detroit Police would bring on the community, why they joined the force and what it says about policing today.

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The relationship between Detroit residents and the city’s police department has a complicated history. That relationship has been highlighted in recent days as protests against racism and police brutality have taken place around the world.

We know Detroit had some big riots back in the day, what is keeping the tension down at this time?” — Bryce Huffman, BridgeDetroit

Bryce Huffman is a reporter for BridgeDetroit, a new non-profit news organization focused on examining issues that Detroiters identify as important to their lives. 101.9 WDET is a founding partner of BridgeDetroit.


Read: George Floyd’s death a painful reminder of Detroit’s history of police violence


People from other states and other cities have been seeing pictures from riots in Grand Rapids and Minneapolis,” Huffman says. “We know Detroit had some big riots back in the day, what is keeping the tension down at this time?”

Huffman found that while Detroit Police Chief James Craig says community relations are strong, that hasn’t always been the case. Black officers Huffman spoke to told him stories about the racial terror white officers would deliver in the community, sometimes targeting members of the Black police officers themselves. 

He spoke with Stephen Henderson about the story, elevating Black voices, and racial discrimination in policing. 

Click on the player above to hear Bryce Huffman talk about the relationship between Detroit Police and the community.

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Bridge Detroit, Non-profit newsroom

BridgeDetroit is a new non-profit news organization focused on examining issues that Detroiters identify as important to their lives.


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