Reporters are supposed to cover the headlines, not make them. Yet, for the second day running, the name of a journalist covering a story appears in the lede rather than the byline. MLive has the details:
The Detroit Police Department has launched an Internal Affairs investigation into use of force against WJBK, Fox 2 News reporter M.L. Elrick.
Two police manhandled Elrick and pushed him aside when he attempted to question scrutinized Detroit City Council Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. during a public meeting at Bethel AME Church, 5050 St. Antoine, Tuesday evening.
Chief James Craig said the force used “didn’t appear to be excessive,” however, he did remove the sergeant, who oversees City Council’s Executive Protection Detail, from his position and said further “disciplinary action” may still come.
Craig said officers are taught to use verbalized deescalation tactics prior to force, whenever possible. “We’re not certain verbalization was done,” Craig said, adding that he would not disclose the officers’ explanation for the incident while the investigation is pending.
Verbalized de-escalation? That sounds like cop-speak for using one’s indoor voice.
Other details from the account suggest that Elrick was dogging Cushingberry in the hopes of getting his side of a mini-scandal: He was pulled over Jan. 7 by Detroit police, who found an empty alcohol container and marijuana in his vehicle. He was subsequently released with a citation.
Was race a factor? In the video of the exchange between Elrick and the officers, it is clear that the reporter is white and the cops are black, as is Cushingberry, who can be seen entering the building at the beginning of the clip, his back to the camera.
Moe Lane rules out the possibility of ideological favoritism by noting that Cushingberry is a Democrat (not that he could be an elected official in Detroit and be otherwise).
Elrick said in a statement following the incident:
I do think it says something that when public officials not only do not feel like they have to answer to the public but they use the police to keep the public from asking questions that something has gone very, very wrong in this city at a time when we hope that things are finally going right.
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