Detroit cop blasted for ‘garbage’ response retiring
A Detroit police officer who recently came under fire for allegedly referring to residents as “garbage” in an online response to an article about his colleagues living outside city limits has retired.
In a letter addressed to Chief James Craig and dated Wednesday and provided to the media by the chief during a news conference Thursday, Officer Daniel Wolff said he had been considering retirement while recovering from injuries sustained on the job.
“Accordingly sir, I have decided to retire, but know that the honor of being a Detroit police officer shall not be overshadowed by the intent of some to misconstrue my words as anything other than supportive of our citizens,” he wrote in a letter the chief described as Wolff’s notice of resignation.
Wolff was under investigation and a watchdog organization sought his termination over the reported remarks regarding a Motor City Muckraker story this month describing a hike 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.”
That prompted the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality to call for his ouster. Craig vowed an investigation.
Wolff, a 20-year veteran, was on leave following the unspecified on-duty injury, Craig said.
In his letter this week, Wolff said he aimed to “clear up the tragic misunderstanding my statements have created.”
“Please understand that when I refer to the ‘garbage’ in the city of Detroit, I refer to the criminal element alone,” he wrote. “I am referring to the same element wishing to bring nothing more than harm to our citizens who are good, honest and exceptional people. ... My comments were intended to support the state law and the heroes who protect our citizens.”
Wolff could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Craig addressed the controversy during a news conference Thursday at police headquarters.
“As I pointed out a little over a week ago I was deeply troubled, as were many in the department,” Craig said. “His statements while troubling do not reflect the Detroit Police Department.”
Craig said the department quickly opened an investigation, but Wolff did not make himself available for an interview. Instead, he chose to retire.
“I strongly suggested that given the egregious nature of what he said in social media about the people we serve and protect that he needed to make a public apology,” said Craig who then mentioned Wolff’s letter.
Craig said the case is closed because Wolff no longer is employed by the department.