Less than a week after a black racist shot to death five police officers in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter protest, the Detroit police department demoted a white detective who called out the Black Lives Matter movement as “racists” and “terrorists.” Detective Nate Weekley was disciplined by DPD for posting remarks that his superiors found objectionable. Posting on Facebook, Weekley wrote that he was thinking about taking a day off in view of the “outrageous act perpetrated against my brothers.”
He said furthermore, “The only racists here are the ... Black Lives Matter terrorists and their supporters.” Weekley also used an expletive to describe the Black Lives Matter group. His sentiments reflect those of a number of officials and prominent commentators, including radio personality Rush Limbaugh.
According to Detroit police chief James Craig, Weekley has been downgraded from the rank of detective in the sex crimes unit to officer status pending the results of an internal investigation. “When we voice an opinion contrary to the department's mission, the department's goals, that's a problem,” Craig said. He said that Weekley's post was "unprofessional."
“Social media can be our friend,” Craig added, “but if you want to inject personal opinions, we will take quick and prompt action.” Craig said that DPD is also investigating comments made online by a black police supervisor, but would not go into details. Weekley is white.
In a separate investigation, DPD arrested four individuals in apparent online threats to murder white police officers. Craig said the case will be put before prosecutors. While the threats may have been intended as a joke, Craig said, “I take it serious.”
Detroit’s population is 80 percent African American. It saw some of the worst rioting in the country during the Civil Rights era. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson sent Army troops to bolster Michigan National Guardsmen and state troopers to quell arson, looting, and shooting.
The shooting deaths of black Americans at the hands of police, such as the cases of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, have sparked protests all over the country and increased tensions in some areas. Following the shootings in Dallas, shots were fired at police headquarters in San Antonio. In his post, Craig noted that the July 8 Black Lives Matter protest in Detroit was peaceful.
Police union president Mark Diaz said DPD officers are under pressure, while acknowledging that Chief Craig has the authority to demote Weekley. The union will represent Weekley in any contemplated disciplinary action. “I'm not going to comment on whether it was wrong or right,' Diaz said of the online post. 'In a perfect world we would contemplate the reality of what anyone says in a public forum and how it affects others.”
Joseph Weekley, Nathan’s brother, accidently shot to death a 7-year-old black girl in 2010 during a raid on her home. He accidently discharged his service weapon, killing the girl. was leading a raid on a Detroit home in 2010 when he accidentally pulled the trigger and killed the sleeping 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. A judge dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Joseph Weekley during a second trial in the highly publicized case.
Separately, Detroit police arrested four people in an investigation of online threats to kill white officers. Craig said the results of the probe will be given to prosecutors.
Although possibly a joke, 'I take it serious,' the chief said of threats.