DPD to investigate cop's alleged comments on Detroit

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A Detroit police officer is under investigation and a watchdog organization is calling for his dismissal after he allegedly called Detroiters "garbage" in response to an article about officers living outside city limits.

Officer Daniel Wolff is accused of responding on Tuesday to a Motor City Muckraker story detailing the increase in police personnel living in the suburbs after the state banned residency requirements for municipal employees in 1999.

"Getting rid of residency was the best thing that ever happened to the Detroit Police!!!!!" Wolff allegedly said. "We have to police the garbage but you can’t make us live in the garbage.”

The quote was among several listed in a follow-up piece by the Muckraker. It also was cited in a press release Thursday by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, which has called for Wolff's dismissal.

"We must have zero tolerance for those officers who openly cast aspersions on those whom they are called to protect and serve, no matter who they are," coalition spokesman Kenneth Reed said. "This is clearly hate speech, and it should never come out of the mouth of a law enforcement officer."

Wolff could not be reached for comment and his Facebook page, linked in the Muckraker story, was inaccessible Thursday.

Detroit Police James Craig on Wednesday acknowledged the controversy and vowed a thorough investigation.

"I am familiar with it, and I am deeply -- emphasis on deeply -- troubled by the comments (allegedly made) by this police officer," Craig said when questioned at his annual meeting to discuss last year's crime statistics. "I will tell you in no uncertain terms that he will be held accountable if the allegations are true."

The department received Wolff's alleged comments from the Muckraker the day they were posted, according to Director Michael Woody of the public information office.

"We have forwarded them to our internal affairs for a full investigation," Woody said. "This is not representative of the vast majority of our officers in this department, who work hard every day to build relationships with members of our community."

Craig on Wednesday touched upon other comments allegedly made by Wolff, without directly quoting them.

"Certainly he (allegedly) made some sexist, some racist comments. He made some statements about engaging in excessive force incidents; criminal activity, basically," Craig said. "Unless someone can come forward, or unless he admits it, that’s going to be a challenge (to prove.) But we are going to explore all of it."

Wolff, a 20-year veteran, is on leave following an unspecified on-duty injury, Craig said.

"But we’re going to move forward with the investigation and we should be at a finding fairly quickly," he said. "If this individual feels that strongly about working in the City of Detroit and has that type of attitude, we certainly don’t want him here.

"And so we will be taking appropriate action," Craig continued. "That’s our commitment."

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