Following Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Calif)’s recent appeal for “no more police” in the aftermath of 20-year-old Daunte Wright’s death following a traffic stop in Minnesota, Detroit Police Chief James Craig took aim at her.
In an interview with WJBK-TV, a Fox affiliate in the Detroit area, Craig said that he would not be surprised if Tlaib took a permanent leave of absence from Congress.
“I’d love to see her resign. I’d throw her a goodbye party,” Craig told WJBK anchor Charlie Langton, who is also an attorney.
“Who is she speaking for?” he continued. “When you talk about abolishing police, incarceration, when you talk about safe cities—what do you think the residents in Detroit want? I know. I speak with them.”
In a tweet last week, Tlaib said that policing in the United States is “intentionally racist” and “can’t be reformed.” The remarks came one day after a white Minnesota police officer reportedly mistook her pistol for her Taser and fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb.
It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.
No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2021
Tlaib has endured a barrage of criticism since calling for an end to “policing, incarceration, and militarization”—the latest in a long line of divisive remarks by the freshman congresswoman.
Craig said that Tlaib’s comments were “reckless.”
“So, is she truly representing the people? Or is she representing a fringe group?” the Detroit Police chief asked.
He also chastised Rep. Maxine Waters for telling demonstrators in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, that if Derek Chauvin was acquitted of the murder of George Floyd, they should “get more confrontational.”, according to Fox New’s report.
“I was the first chief in the nation that came out and denounced the murderous cop who killed George Floyd,” he said. “We support free speech, we support social justice, but are we encouraging, we make reckless statements like that, to create criminal behavior?”
When asked to explain why he thought Tlaib’s statement was “reckless” and “disgusting” on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday, Craig said that it was about Tlaib gaining attention for herself, and that was precisely what it was designed to do.
“It’s not productive. She doesn’t speak for the majority of Detroiters. The majority of Detroiters support this police department. They want effective and constitutional policing.” Craig added.
Craig has previously also clashed with Tlaib.
Craig was enraged by the then-freshman congresswoman’s critiques of the Detroit Police Department’s use of facial recognition software to identify possible suspects in criminal cases in 2019. Tlaib also suggested to Craig that the department employ only African-Americans to use the program because “I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same,” she said.
Craig disagreed, saying that his workers’ preparation was more critical than their skin color. He told Tlaib that he trusted people who were trained, regardless of race, regardless of gender; it was about the training.
Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw explained to Detroit News that facial recognition software “doesn’t work on gender or race” but instead “works on facial measurements.”
“There’s implicit bias in everything we do,” Shaw said, noting that Tlaib’s racial implicit bias is reflected in her speech. “You just heard it in [Tlaib’s] comments.”
“It’s insulting,” Craig said regarding Tlaib’s remarks. “We have a diverse group of crime analysts, and what she said—that non-blacks should not work in that capacity because they think all black people look alike—is a slap in the face to all the men and women in the crime center.”