Local police say plenty to learn from Ferguson shooting

Local police say plenty to learn from Ferguson shooting

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With the National Guard descending on Ferguson, Missouri, many are watching to see how the shooting death of an unarmed teenager will be handled. Among them, local law enforcement agencies who say we can all learn from what's going on in Ferguson.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the protests and violent response in Ferguson can likely be traced to police not having a substantive relationship with the community it serves.

"I'd hate to criticize another department," Craig says, "But I can honestly say when you see an unrest of this magnitude seven to eight days running, these problems existed prior to the unfortunate death of (Michael) Brown."

The drama began after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed.

Police were not exactly forthcoming about what happened.

Craig says that's critical when it comes to cases of excessive force and officer-involved shootings.

"What's so important is that transparency is key," he says. "One of the things I have certainly embraced is, it's important we talk [to the media]. It's important to share information as soon as we can [and] get that out to the community."

Former Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge Andy Arena said that it is important how your police department is portrayed to the community.

"Do you want them to be seen as public servants or as an occupying army?" he says.

Arena says concerns of police departments looking and acting more like soldiers are justified.

Ron Scott from Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is drawing some comparisons between police in Ferguson and police in Detroit.
 
"I think some of the policies (Craig) initiated, like the Green Machine and all these other raids, only creates a militarized, a militaristic attitude and we see what militaristic attitudes can do in light of Ferguson," Scott says.

Craig said that he has invited Scott to go on a Detroit police operations.

Arena says the unrest in Ferguson should prompt law enforcement agencies to review how officers respond to using deadly force.

According to an independent autopsy, Brown was shot six times.

"If it was a shot from close range and if there was a tussle over the weapon you maybe able to justify it," Arena says. "If the shot was from 10 to 15 feet away, that's a lot more difficult to justify."

The Macomb County Sheriff Department says having dash cam and video from personal cameras would've been helpful in Ferguson, as well as immediate disclosure of some facts about the case.
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