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Black Police Commissioner Handcuffed, Thrown Out of Detroit Meeting Won’t Face Disorderly Conduct Charges

The Detroit Police Commissioner won’t face disorderly conduct charges after he was ordered off the premises of a police commission meeting and dragged out in handcuffs for behaving “out of order.”

Police chief James Craig told The Detroit News he decided to drop the matter concerning Commissioner Willie Burton Tuesday “after consulting several people, including board members.”

“The arrest was legal, and I’m not criticizing my officers,” Craig told the newspaper. “But after weighing the totality of the circumstances, I thought it best to drop the charges, in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with the board and the people who elected (Burton).”

Burton was taken to jail after Board of Police Commissioners chairwoman Lisa Carter ordered him to leave a contentious meeting July 11 at the Durfee Information Center.

Related: Detroit Police Board Commissioner Grabbed Out of His Seat, Handcuffed by Police After Voicing Concerns with Facial Recognition 

Board meetings had been tense as officials discussed facial recognition cameras in the city and their use by police, but Burton, who has been critical of the technology, was not discussing facial recognition cameras when he was arrested, Detroit News reported.

He had repeatedly asked the chairwoman what she planned to do differently from ex-chairman Willie Bell, which frustrated the chairwoman, according to news outlets covering the meeting.

Commissioner Willie Burton
Detroit Commissioner Willie Burton was escorted out of a police board meeting in handcuffs Thursday after interrupting and repeatedly speaking out of turn. (Twitter / video screenshot)

“Please remove commissioner Burton so that we can have an orderly meeting,” Carter said in video taken of the meeting. “Assistant chief, would you please remove him from the table?”

Handcuffed in the incident, Burton yelled at arresting officers to “get your hands off me.”

“If you throw me out of this office and I’m duly-elected, you are disenfranchising 100,000 voters that I represent in the 5th District, you must throw us all off,” Burton said. “You throw me out, throw us all out.

“You do not have permission to touch me,” he added.

Burton was later taken to jail but released soon afterward on a $100 bond, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

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