Protests erupted Friday evening at the scene where a 19-year old man, identified as Hakim Littleton, was shot and killed by Detroit police after he pulled a gun on one officer and fired several times at point blank range.
According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, officers were searching for a person involved in a Fourth of July shooting that wounded five people and left three others dead.
Craig said he released a body cam video of the incident to curb "a false narrative" that the shooting was an act of police brutality against an unarmed civilian.
[Warning: Graphic video]
The video shows officers from the 12th Precinct arresting Darnell Sylvester on an outstanding drug warrant. Sylvester puts his hands up and complies with the officers' instructions.
Then, the video shows Littleton approach the officers, reach into his pocket, and pull out a gun.
"Littleton said you are not going to take my man, in other words take him into custody. He pulled a gun from his left pocket at close range, nearly missing the officer, I would estimate the suspect was 2 or 3 feet from our officer," Craig said. "As the Littleton raised the gun in his left hand he was aiming at the head of the officer. Three officers returned fire. Littleton continued to fire even as he was on the ground."
Meanwhile, the activist group Detroit Will Breathe called for followers to immediately report to the scene of the shooting to protest.
Pictures from the protests:
Members of Littleton's family refuted the police department's report, claiming that the 19-year-old was unarmed and surrendering.
"They murdered him. Shot him in his back walking down the street. Oh they told them to freeze, OK, put your hands up. And they did, and they shot him trying to put his phone in his pocket," said Deseanae Wells, the victim's cousin.
Detroit Mayor Mike Dunggan commended the police department's handling of the entire situation.
"The City of Detroit was one of the first in America to outfit its police cars and officers with cameras for this type of incident. Public confidence requires citizens to be able to judge for themselves the actions of our officers. The video is clear that the officer was suddenly and unexpectedly fired upon. I commend Chief Craig for moving so quickly to release the video publicly," said Duggan in the statement.