Detroit Cop Charged With Felony Assault For 'Unprovoked' Attack On Journalists

WWJ News
July 20, 2020 - 3:54 pm
police officer badge

(WWJ) A Detroit police corporal is facing felony charges for allegedly firing rubber bullets at a group of photojournalists during a Black Lives Matter protest. 

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office on Monday announced the case against 32-year-old Daniel Debono.

Listen Live Now on WWJ Newsradio 950

Investigators say 30-year-old Nicole Hester, with MLive, and independent photojournalists 28-year-old Seth Herald and 29-year-old Matthew Hatcher were wearing press credentials while covering the protests late the night of May 30.

The three were walking in downtown Detroit at around midnight when they encountered Debono with two other officers at Woodward Ave. and State St. They identified themselves as members of the press and had their hands up, asking to cross the street, prosecutors say.

As the three began to cross it's alleged that Debono fired his weapon at the them, striking all of three with non-lethal rubber pellets.  

The shooting was unprovoked, prosecutors said, adding that at no time did the three complainants do anything to cause the defendant to shoot at them.
Heral suffered an injury to his wrist, while Hatcher had bruising on his face, a mark on his nose, and bruising on his ribs. Hester sustained the most injuries to her face, neck, arms, and legs, authorities say. 

Debono has been charged with three counts of Felonious Assault, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison. 

“The evidence shows that these three journalists were leaving the protest area and that there was almost no one else on the street where they were. They were a threat no one. There are simply no explicable reasons why the alleged actions of this officer where taken,” said Prosecutor Kym Worthy, in a statement.

Arraignment information ws not immediately available.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has said multiple investigators were ongoing into the behvior of Detroit police offiers during protests following the death of George Floyd.