Detroit officer who allegedly shot journalists with rubber bullets is charged

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

A Detroit police corporal was charged Monday for allegedly shooting three photojournalists with rubber bullets during a protest in response to the death of George Floyd in late May, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said. 

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy charged the officer, Daniel Debono, with three felonies for the "unprovoked" shooting. Debono, 32, is facing a maximum penalty of four years for three counts of felonious assault, a count for each journalist shot. 

“The evidence shows that these three journalists were leaving the protest area and that there was almost no one else on the street where they were. They were a threat (to) no one. There are simply no explicable reasons why the alleged actions of this officer where taken,” said Worthy in a news release.

The three photojournalists, Nicole Hester, 30, of MLive and independent photojournalists Seth Herald, 28, and Matthew Hatcher, 29, each sustained injuries from the rubber bullets. 

According to the Prosecutor's Office, as a result from the rubber bullet shots, Hester had injuries to her face, neck, arms and legs. Herald's wrist was injured and Hatcher had a bruised face with a mark on his nose and bruising on his ribs. 

Most of the demonstrators were dispersed around 12 a.m. May 31, after the previous night's protest. The three photojournalists who covering the protest and wearing press credentials were walking when they encountered Debono at Woodward and State Street, the Prosecutor's Office said. 

The three photojournalists identified themselves as press and asked to cross the street while holding their hands up, officials said. 

As they were crossing the street, Debono, who was dressed in riot gear and armed with a weapon that fired rubber pellets and his department issued firearm, allegedly shot and hit all three journalists.