A Detroit police officer has been charged with three counts of criminal assault in connection with the shooting of three photographers with rubber balls during a protest
Cpl. Prosecutor Kim Worthy said that Daniel DeBono was wearing riot gear and was armed with a weapon firing rubber balls with a firearm issued by his administration as protesters took to the streets of downtown Detroit due to the death of George Floyd. In a press release.
After most of the demonstrators cleared the area, MLive Nicole Hester and freelance photographers Seth Herald and Matthew Hatcher Debono faced with two other officers. The statement said that the three photographers, all wearing press credentials, identified themselves as members of the press, and with their hands, they asked to cross the street.
As the three began crossing the street, Debono was alleged to have fired his weapon at them, and the three were hit with rubber balls, according to the statement.
The three photographers were injured by pellets. Hester had the most injuries in her face, neck, arms and legs, according to the statement. Herald’s wrist was injured and Hatcher suffered bruises on the face and ribs.
Worthy said that the three photographers were leaving the protest area and that no one else was on the street when they were hit with rubber pellets.
“The shooting was not provocative. The three complainants did not, at any time, prompt the defendant to shoot at them,” said a Worthy statement. “They were a threat to anyone. There are simply no inexplicable reasons for the alleged actions of this officer.”
CNN reached out to Debono and the Detroit Police Officers Association for comment.
A Worthy statement said the date and date for the Debono trial had not yet been confirmed.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig replied to the accusations on Monday, saying, “Our officers have responded very appropriately, so this should not reflect, as an agency, that this incident determines how our protests are managed.” Dipono has been suspended, according to Craig.
Craig said as soon as he learned of the accident, he had a conversation with his employer at a news outlet for photojournalists and opened an investigation.
The release says that every charge of Dipono charged with a felony assault carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.
Police officers in other cities face charges in accidents related to the use of force during protests.
In Philadelphia, a high-ranking police inspector faces multiple charges after he was seen on video tape on a cell phone apparently beating a Temple University student in the back of his head with a metal club.
In New York, a police officer seen in front of a camera pushing a woman to the sidewalk was charged with assault on June 9. He is the first New York police officer to face criminal charges from the protests in response to Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.