Detroit officer charged, accused of shooting journalists with rubber bullets

Since the incident, Corporal Daniel Debono has been suspended with pay —that may change with the new charges

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Wayne County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy, has filed felony charges against a Detroit police officer who is accused of shooting journalists with rubber bullets.

The incident took place on May 31 in the wake of days of protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. 

READ MORE: Detroit activists aim to ban racist facial recognition software

According to local reports, sometime after midnight, officers cleared an area in downtown Detroit where demonstrators were protesting. 32-year-old corporal, Daniel Debono, was dressed in riot gear when three journalists had their hands up and asked permission to cross the street. They were all wearing press credentials. 

The Detroit Free Press described the incident, saying Debono fired rubber pellets at them as they crossed the street. The shooting is said to be “unprovoked.”

All three—Nicole Hester, 30, Seth Herald, 28, and Matthew Hatcher, 29 were struck and injured by the pellets. 

“They were a threat to no one,” Worthy said, “There are simply no explicable reasons why the alleged actions of this officer were taken.” 

Chief James Craig and members from his department (Facebook)

Police Chief James Craig said that the officer has been on leave with pay, but charges may cause that to change. He also acknowledged that his department is investigating more than 20 incidents of excessive force against Detroit police officers that occurred at the height of the protests. 

“You’ve got to remember, we have a youthful workforce, and I don’t know of a time in the recent past that we’ve had to deal with violent protesters.” Craig said, “So, by and large, this department performed in a spectacular manner.” 

READ MORE: Journalist fired for staging ‘promotional stunt’ during George Floyd protests

Ms. Worthy has been the Wayne County Prosecutor since 2004. She is up for re-election this fall in what is being described as a contentious race against her opponent Valerie Burton-Harris

Harris has garnered high-profile endorsements from across the country, including one from singer and activist, John Legend

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