BREAKING James Craig Detroit Police Chief and Fox News commentator aka Regular to retire and run for Govenor of Miuch
According to one police source who requested anonymity, Craig is eyeing a run for governor as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. Charlie LeDuff was first to report on Craig’s political aspirations Friday on his “No BS News Hour” podcast. Fox 2 news also was reporting that Craig is expected to run for a statewide office, possibly governor.
Retired Deputy Chief Steve Dolunt, who said he has not yet spoken to Craig about the reported news, had only words of praise for Craig.
“He’s done wonders for this city. He has changed this department around and built trust among the citizens of Detroit,” said Dolunt, who retired in 2017 after 31 years of service. “I was there with him for four years and I saw a major turnaround.”
Perhaps most notable about Craig, Dolunt said, was the following:
“When he makes a mistake, he owns it,” Dolunt said, calling Craig the first chief in the country to release bodycam video right after a shooting.
“He doesn’t shy away from anything,” Dolunt said, adding: “And he’s been scandal free.”
As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, a spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said: “The chief has not indicated to the mayor any decisions about his future.”
Duggan and Craig have long had a good relationship, which was put to the test over the summer during the heated BLM protests sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The Detroit police came under intense criticism by BLM protesters who alleged police were out of line in firing tear gas at crowds downtown, or using excessive force during arrests on people they claim were simply demonstrating.
Yet through it all, the chief and the mayor remained on good terms. Perhaps most notable was Duggan’s response to Craig’s handling of the officer-related shooting that left one man dead in July.
Within hours of the fatal shooting, Craig released a video of the incident that showed the victim, Hakim Littleton, pull a gun out of his pocket, point it at the head of a police officer and open fire.
Three nearby officers quickly fired back, killing LIttleton.
Mayhem quickly followed in the west-side neighborhood where the shooting happened, with more than 100 protesters gathering in the streets, shouting at police in riot gear, throwing bottles and bricks, and demanding justice for what they believed was another case of police brutality against a Black man.
But at 7:30 p.m., seven hours after the shooting, Craig released dashcam and bodycam video to “set the record straight.”
Duggan said the video did just that.
“Public confidence requires citizens to be able to judge for themselves the actions of our officers. The video is clear that the officer was suddenly and unexpectedly fired upon. I commend Chief Craig for moving so quickly to release the video publicly,” Duggan said at the time.
The officers were cleared in that shooting last month.
Violence aside, the last year has been especially rough for Craig, both personally and professionally, as COVID-19 ravaged his force, infecting the chief and more than 200 officers, including a homicide captain and civilian dispatcher who both died from the virus.
Craig overcame the virus after fighting it out at home, though it changed his perspective on life.
“Leave the small stuff alone and really focus on what you are personally called to do,” Craig said in a Free Press interview. “You have so much clarity when you’re fighting a deadly disease that you start thinking about your calling. ‘What am I here to do?’ It becomes so clear.”
At the time, that meant helping people and protecting Detroiters, Craig said.
“I want to help people,” Craig said, while still recovering.
Craig came to Detroit in 2013 after serving in the same post in the Cincinnati Police Department for two years. He was originally appointed to the role by then Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
Previously, he spent two years as chief of the Portland Police Department in Maine. A native Detroiter, Craig started his police career in the city in 1977. After a downsizing of the Detroit Police Department, he joined the Los Angeles police force and remained there for 28 years.