A police board meeting escalated when Detroit cops tackled a police commissioner to the ground and arrested him at a heated hearing where protesters demonstrated against the city’s controversial facial recognition scheme.
Commissioner Willie Burton was annoyed that the Board of Police Commissioners had held secret, closed door meetings that he and the public were not allowed to attend during which an expansion of the facial recognition scheme was planned, Metro Times reports.
He attempted to call out the board on the issue at Thursday’s meeting, but was told to be quiet by board chair Lisa Carter, who objected to him speaking for longer than his allotted time, and then asked that he be removed.
“If you throw me out of this office that I am duly elected to, this disenfranchises 100,000 votes that I represent in the 5th District,” Buron shouted as he was surrounded by three officers. “You must throw us all out!”
“Don’t touch me. Get your hands off me,” Burton said as the officers attempted to remove him from his seat. He was dragged to the ground before being escorted from the room. Burton was arrested for disorderly conduct and was released after posting bail.
A number of protesters who were at the meeting to voice their opposition to the controversial facial recognition scheme were held back by other officers. At least one protester was arrested.
Burton and others oppose the planned city-wide rollout of facial recognition cameras on traffic lights. It was revealed in May that Detroit police had been using the technology to arrest people for two years without police commission approval. Burton had earlier called for a ballot so residents could have a say, but this was rejected, as was his proposal to hold a public hearing.
The commission is due to vote to formally approve the scheme next week.
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