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Detroit cop on administrative duties after telling anti-Israel protester to 'go back to Mexico'

A Detroit police lieutenant has been placed on administrative duties after bodycam footage showed him engaging in a shouting match with an anti-Israel demonstrator.

A Detroit police lieutenant has been placed on administrative duties after a shouting match in which he told a pro-Palestinian protester to "go back to Mexico."

The encounter Sunday outside Huntington Place in downtown Detroit where President Joe Biden was giving the keynote during an NAACP fundraiser was recorded on police body camera and cellphone video.

In both videos, the protester is seen behind a yellow police barricade while the lieutenant is standing with other officers about 10 feet away.


At one point, the lieutenant tells the protester "why don’t you just go back to Mexico?" She responds that she’s not Mexican and uses an expletive aimed at the lieutenant.

"Cause that’s where you were hanging out," the lieutenant continued. "Go back and hang out in Mexico. Go party in Mexico again."

The protester later identifies herself as Palestinian and asks the lieutenant, "Are you still gonna get a divorce?"

After reviewing the video, Detroit police Chief James White said he ordered an internal affairs investigation that also will look at whether department policy was violated. The lieutenant, whose name has not been released, Commander was relieved of his duties related to policing protests and demonstrations.

"I was offended. In fact, I was outraged by what I saw," White told reporters Monday. "We support peaceful protests."

Cmdr. Michael McGinnis said the department later learned the protester had been vacationing in Mexico and that the lieutenant also was aware of her trip.

"His comment was related to her returning to vacation," McGinnis said. "When you add that context, it changes the egregiousness of the interaction. Though it does not eliminate concerns Chief White has, it does change the storyline."

The Council on American Islamic Relations Michigan chapter said Tuesday in a release that the protester recently returned from a family vacation in Mexico and that she believes Detroit police had been surveilling her social media accounts.

But McGinnis said evidence suggests some protesters have been posting personal information about officers and that there is "some bit of knowledge both ways."

Hamas and other militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking an additional 250 hostage. Palestinian militants still hold about 100 captives, while Israel’s military has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants.

Groups across the U.S. have taken to the streets to protest the Israel-Hamas war and actions by the Biden administration. Students and others have set up tent encampments on campuses nationwide to press colleges to cut financial ties with Israel.

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