Charges dropped for Detroit officer accused of using rubber bullets on journalists at protest

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Charges have been dismissed against a Detroit police corporal accused of shooting three journalists with rubber bullets during a 2020 George Floyd demonstration.

In July 2020, Daniel DeBono was charged with three felonies through Detroit's 36th District Court. He pleaded not guilty. 

Daniel DeBono during a video arraignment on the charges.

The officer was accused of firing the ammunition at the three photojournalists after police brutality protests in downtown Detroit had dispersed early on May 31, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has said.

The office reported the shooting was "unprovoked" and left at least one of the journalists with injuries.

After a preliminary examination ended Tuesday, 36th District Judge Roberta Archer did not bind DeBono over on the charges, prosecutors said in a statement.

A state statute "grants immunity to any officer where an unlawful assembly is declared," according to the release. "The court applied the statute in this case and dismissed the charges as a matter of law."

Prosecutors had argued the statute doesn't apply because the journalists were not part of the protest, which had been cleared at the time.

The Prosecutor's Office will determine if there will be an appeal to Wayne County Circuit Court, representatives said Tuesday.

Detroit Police Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on DeBono's status.