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‘This Sh-t’s Kinda Fun’: Newly Released Video Shows Detroit Police Mock, Shove, Pepper-Spray Complying Protesters at George Floyd Demonstrations Last Year

A 22-minute video compilation released on Tuesday by the group Detroit Will Breathe shows that Detroit police officers encouraged one another to turn off their body cameras then proceeded to shove and pepper spray protesters who were complying with orders in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death last year.

The group posted the collection of police statements, body camera and bystander footage on Facebook. “It displays the cruel behavior of the Detroit Police Department and the very brutality we continue to protest and fight against,” the group said about the videos. Detroit Will Breathe protested nearly every night for a time after Floyd’s death.

A 22-minute video compilation released on Tuesday by the group Detroit Will Breathe shows how Detroit police officers interacted with protesters last summer. (Photo: Detroit Will Breathe/ Facebook)

The videos includes short clips strung together with little context. On the night of May 29, footage from the body camera of officer Juwan Brown shows another officer approach him and say “turn off that camera.” In another video, and officer yelled, “tase that motherf—er,” as officers tried to detain a woman who appeared to be on the ground. Officers repeatedly cursed and screamed at protesters in many of the clips included in the video.

In one clip officers appeared to be trying to get a man to walk away from the area and when he walked the wrong direction, an officer shouted “That way, motherf—er!” When the man appeared to show that he was frightened, the officer yelled, “Now you wanna cry!”

In another clip, an officer screamed in a man’s ear from behind him, as the man walked down the street. When the man stopped walking and faced the officer, the officer shouted again and shoved him.

“What the f-ck you gonna do about it?” the officer asked. At that time, another officer charged at the man and ran into him, knocking him to the ground.

“I’m leaving, I’m leaving,” the man said from the ground, as someone else shouted, “He’s not doing anything!”

In other videos, officers laughed at protesters among one another and imitated them. “I ain’t gonna lie to you, this sh-t’s kina fun,” an officer said, laughing, on May 31. The comment was captured by Capt. James Demps’ body camera.

A clip of police Chief James Craig speaking is included between clips. “We told our officers to always be professional,” Craig said. “And when you look at the interactions that our officers have had, they’ve been professional. … My hats continue to be off to them.”

In another video recorded by Demps’ camera on June 2, officers pepper sprayed into a a crowd of protesters before dragging them away from one another and pinning them to the ground to place them in zip-ties. In some cases, officers directed streams of pepper spray into the faces of protesters in the prone position as they were being placed in handcuffs.

“Don’t mace him, it’s not necessary!” a protester yelled.

Officers then joked that they’d used all of their pepper-spray.

“The b-tch is empty,” one said. “Oops,” said another.

“I f-cked everybody up,” an officer said.

“I f-cked a lot of people up too,” Demps replied. Another officer then said he “thought it’d be worse” and “wanted more.”

According to Deadline Detroit, there are 33 internal investigations into potential officer misconduct during the summer’s protests. Of the 16 closed cases, at least one officer was charged by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office after shooting rubber bullets at reporters.

Attorney Jack Schulz is representing Detroit Will Breathe in a lawsuit against the city over police tactics last summer. “The footage of the actual events shows that officers sought to maximize punishment and, in some cases, officers experienced a sick joy out of inflicting both physical and mental damage on citizens,” he told Detroit Deadline.

Chief Craig retired from the department in June and is expected to run for governor as a Republican. The police department, now under the leadership of interim Chief James White, has not commented on the videos.

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