In July 2020 a squadron of Detroit Police Department officers approached a young African American man to make an arrest on a residential street. Hakim Littleton, the arrestee’s companion, apparently drew a pistol and fired a shot in the direction of the officers, who returned fire in a hail of bullets, killing Littleton. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Police Chief James Craig released video footage of the event along with narrative commentary of what occurred.

The ACLU of Michigan joined in coalition with other legal and community organizations to question the account given by the police after our review of the video footage revealed factual inconsistencies and contradictions in the police account. Most notably, the video appears to show that Littleton had been fully subdued by officers and was alive on the ground when one officer fired a shot into Littleton’s head at close range. The coalition called for an independent investigation and also produced its own narrated video of the killing.

(ACLU Attorney Mark Fancher; coalition partners include the Black Legacy Coalition, National Lawyers Guild, Detroit Council of Elders, Detroit Justice Center, East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition, Hush House Black Community Museum, James and Grace Lee Boggs Center, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Michigan Liberation, Moratorium Now Coalition, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Neighborhood Defender Service of Detroit, Riverwise Magazine, Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association, and We the People of Detroit.)