Detroit chief: Death threat shows crackdown works

Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks with reporters, Jan. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Steve Perez)

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit’s police chief said Sunday that a death threat against him on a social media site shows that his department’s crackdown on drug trafficking is cutting into the profits of criminals.

James Craig held a news conference to discuss the threat uncovered Friday. He declined to say where the threat was posted but says it included a photo of a handgun.

“The suspect made the statement in his street jargon, ‘We need to clap him out.’ Certainly, that was meant for me. He referenced the chief because there’s been what his group would say is a disruption,” Craig said.

The Detroit Police Department has conducted five large-scale drug sweeps since July, as well as an average of 35 drug house raids each week, Craig said.

“I will tell you that’s having an impact on undermining these criminal organization’s revenue streams,” he said. “So they’re angry.”

Craig said he actually felt grateful to whoever posted the threat.

“I want to thank him because this reinforces what we do,” the chief said. “I’m the people’s police chief. The people want me to do this.”

Addressing the source of the threat, he added: “We will find you, and we’re going to dismantle your criminal enterprise.”

The FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. attorney’s office and Michigan State Police are working together to investigate the threat, Craig said.

“This is not a Third World country,” he said. “You can’t just threaten a police chief. This is America. This is the city of Detroit. We’ve got some of the best police professionals anywhere in the world. When you threaten the chief, you threaten all of the officers.”

As far as the fight against drug trafficking, Craig said that will continue unabated.

“No way will we back off,” he said. “We’re going to dismantle this narcotic network,” an effort that “will extend beyond the borders of the city of Detroit.”

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