Detroit police say an undercover officer shot and killed a man following a crash that happened during a drag race early Monday morning.
Interim Police Chief James White says the car was stolen and doing donuts on the city’s east side before losing control and crashing into the officer’s unmarked police car. He says the driver reached for a weapon before being shot by the officer.
“He sees our suspect who is reaching for something at this point, he yells police. The suspect removes a weapon produces the weapon. He says drop it. And at that time, the officer uses fatal force,” White says.
It’s unclear if the man had raised the gun to fire before being shot and killed. White says there is video of the incident and that the officer is on leave while the incident is being investigated. A police spokesman says there is no plan to release the video.
Shooting Comes Amid Increased Violence in the City
White says drifting and drag racing go beyond standard traffic violations.
“This isn’t about pulling someone over and giving them a ticket. That’s not what this is about. This is about people who are making decisions to drift in these neighborhoods, where they are losing control of these vehicles. They’re ending up in someone’s front yard, or worst yet, hitting a child or hitting a home,” he says.
White says 200 vehicles were at the drag racing show on Monday. He says Detroit has a new drifting and drag racing ordinance that allows police to fine spectators and impound vehicles present.
Detroit police increased street patrols this summer specifically targeting drag racing and drifting. In June, the department announced it was devising a five-point plan to clamp down on large crowds this summer, with White at the helm of the effort. At the top of the list is increasing police presence citywide. In addition to increased police presence, the plan also includes more stringent noise enforcement, heavier policing on drag racing, engaging community members, and parking lot and code enforcement.
White is leading the department at a time where gun violence is on the rise in Detroit. Police have seized hundreds of illegal guns this year, and homicides and non-fatal shootings are up, including a triple non-fatal shooting involving three teens on Sunday.
“We are seeing a pattern of violent behavior. It has been a very violent weekend in our city,” White says.