“Say his name,” they shouted as they answered it themselves: “Hakim Littleton.”
It rained heavily as yet another tragedy struck amidst the country-wide Black Lives Matter protests. A large crowd gathered around the area of the tragedy. A 20-year-old was shot dead by the Detroit Police.
The police also offered their version of the incident. According to Police Chief James Craig, Littleton had opened fire at some police personnel in the Bagley neighborhood. The incident took place around 12:30 pm somewhere near W. McNichols Road and San Juan Drive. Chief Craig said that the police had to fire in return as well as ended up fatally shooting Hakim Littleton.
Meanwhile, people turned up in large numbers to protest against this incident. The protesters added Hakim Littleton’s name to the chants of Black Lives Matter. Another name is added to the list of Black people killed by the police in America.
This incident has sparked protests in Detroit and is also spreading to other areas, given the sensitivity of the issue. The Black Lives Matter movement garnered international support after the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
What led to the shooting of Littleton
Several things led to Hakim Littleton’s death, starting from the wee hours of July 5. Officer Craig spoke to the reporters. Eight people were injured, and 3 died in a block party. Chief Craig confirmed this incident.
Detroit Police Department’s 12th Precinct, as well as a specialized gang intelligence unit, were conducting surveillance on Friday. The police had information suggesting that the shooting involved a man who had gang ties and was suspected of drug distribution.
The unit approached the neighborhood where the engagement with Littleton took place. Littleton died in a crossfire.
The videos that surfaced on the internet
The Detroit Police released three videos as proof of the incident. One video appears to show the incident through a dashboard camera. The video indicates eight gunshots. Chief Craig corroborated this information.
The video shows the police approaching a man dressed in white who appears to be cooperating. The police were taking the said man into their custody. Littleton, who was in an orange tee, faces the police as more officers approach the scene.
Following this, Littleton also appears to bend and reach over to his trousers’ pocket. Craig also added that a witness told the police that Littleton said something close to “you’re not going to take my man!”
As an officer questions Littleton, the latter takes something out of his pocket and points his hand towards the officer. Littleton raises his arm. One hears gunshots in the background.
An officer with a body camera ran after Littleton. Hakim falls to the ground, and more shots are heard. The police also recovered four shell casings from the scene of the incident.
Detroit Police Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood confirmed a follow-up investigation. The investigation is underway. It will also confirm the actual number of shots. The officers who were part of the incident are on administrative leave as per official protocol.
The Detroit Protests
Hakim Littleton’s family and friends, along with many supporters, gathered in the neighborhood on Friday. Littleton’s uncle, who joined the protest, said that it was pointless to protest peacefully now.
His uncle also added that his sister had seen Littleton’s body that had two gunshot wounds to the head as well as other bullet injuries. This observation is contradictory to the police’s statement.
Protesters gathered in large number and yelled at the police from behind the yellow police lines. The police appeared in riot gear as the protests intensified. The police fired tear gas. Some protesters had bloodsoaked clothes.
The police also made eight arrests and added more armored vehicles. The protesters continued to march. However, they were peacefully controlled.
The President of the Detroit NAACP, Wendell Anthony, has termed Littleton’s death as “heartbreaking.” He has spoken about the importance of cameras since this sensitive phase is very susceptible to deeper disagreements, disputes, and violence.
This challenging time sees protests from across the nation as America strives to strike a peaceful balance between law enforcement officials and the community. This is the only way to restore peace as well as harmony among communities.