By Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability
On April 7, 2021, the Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the results of her investigation into the murder of Hakim Littleton. This decision serves only to raise more questions about the use of deadly force by the police. Notably, her press presentation did not feature the same police video of the incident that had been presented by Police Chief James Craig at his press conference soon after the incident. Rather she presented what she called a “compilation of still shots,” and announced that she would not bring charges against the police officers involved. Given the rarity of prosecutions of police officers who have engaged in deadly force, the decision was not surprising, but it is deeply disturbing. It robs all of us of a deeper exploration of what happened, why it happened, and most important, what we can do to prevent such killings.
Since the July 10 killing, Detroiters have been given three conflicting official stories of the incident: Chief Craig presented one set of “facts” at his press conference immediately following the killing on July 10. On August 5, in statements to the Detroit News, Chief Craig presented a different set of “facts.” Now Prosecutor Worthy has presented a third, different set of “facts.” There are multiple contradictions and inconsistencies among these three sets of “facts,” so much so that more questions have been raised. Our enduring question is: Didn’t the group of police officers involved in the incident have the option to apprehend Hakim Littleton rather than kill him? Didn’t they choose excessive violence over arrest? Prosecutor Worthy did not address this question. We demand that the identities of the officers, as well as their OCI and ICB investigation history be disclosed, and that the full and complete video footage, uncensored, from every single officer who was at the scene be released.
Prosecutor Worthy’s “compilation of still shots” left out the most significant moment of the incident: the moment when one of the police officers deliberately circled Hakim Littleton’s body and fired a shot into the back of his head, carrying out a close-range execution. Worthy did not show a still shot of this moment; but we haven’t forgotten it, as it was shown very clearly on the police video released by Chief Craig at the July 10 press conference. We don’t accept the story that police officers were in such fear for their lives that they had to execute Hakim Littleton. The police officers chose to shoot Hakim Littleton four times – three wounds to his thighs and one execution shot to his head – rather than arrest him. This was excessive police violence, for which there must be accountability.
Since these officials, Worthy and Craig, have presented three different, inconsistent, contradictory reports to the public concerning this killing, the Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability continue to demand an independent investigation. We will demand that the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights conduct an independent investigation of this tragic killing. We also call upon Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel to join in this request. If you would like to join in our demand for a federal independent investigation, please forward your support in writing to this address: email@example.com. Your letters will be included in our petition.
The killing of Hakim Littleton by Detroit Police (video):