February 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Five arrested in connection with death threat against Detroit Police chief

Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks with the media Dec. 17 about Operation Mistletoe, near the corner of Clairmont and Quincy following a raid on several homes in Detroit's west side. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)

Detroit — Five people were arrested Tuesday in connection with a death threat against Detroit Police Chief James Craig, police officials said.

The five men arrested are from Detroit, said Detroit Police 3rd Deputy Chief Rodney Johnson.

“We believe those arrested were people who promoted or facilitated the communication of the threat,” Johnson said, adding that the man who actually made the threat has not yet been arrested.

Four of the men were arrested for outstanding warrants, the other for a narcotics offense, Johnson said.

After the threat was uncovered Friday, Craig told The Detroit News he believed it was made because drug dealers were upset that police have ramped up their drug raids.

Craig said the threat was made on a social media site using the slang phrase, “We need to clap him out.”

Craig said the FBI, Michigan State Police, Detroit Crime Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are working together on the threat. He added that the narcotics network believed to be involved in the threat extended to Los Angeles.

“We’re raiding, on average, 35 dope houses a week, and we’ve done five large-scale sweeps, and it’s putting a serious crimp in the dope dealers’ money,” Craig told The News Saturday. “What I take from this is, what we’re doing is working. This guy actually did me a favor, because he let me know we’re making a difference by going after these dope dealers.”

Craig, who said the threat was like “something that happens in a third-world country,” added it’s the first time in more than 30 years in law enforcement that his life has been been seriously threatened.

The threat emerged a day after about 400 Detroit Police officers raided 14 locations over six square miles in the city’s first, fourth and 13th precincts. Police officials said it may have been the largest such sweep in the police department’s history.

The threat was a topic of conversation at Tuesday’s Detroit City Council meeting.

“Threats against our chief and any other Detroiters will not be tolerated in this city,” City Council President Brenda Jones said. “Threats against people who are doing jobs to protect us, it’s not acceptable in this city and that was ridiculous.”

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