In first-of-its-kind investigation, grantee finds that one-third of people shot by Detroit police were not charged or convicted of conduct that led to their shooting

Sarabeth Maney, Detroit Free Press.

More than a third of people shot nonfatally by Detroit police in recent years were not charged with a crime or convicted of the conduct officers said prompted them to open fire, a first-of-its-kind investigation by the Detroit Free Press found, raising questions about whether their shootings were justifiable. Most of those shooting survivors were unarmed or shot in the back while fleeing. The shooting officers were almost never disciplined and none were charged with a crime. No Detroit officers have been charged in any shootings since 2011, the Free Press found, a period in which they’ve shot more than 125 people fatally and nonfatally. The investigation was led by Violet Ikonomova, with support from the Fund, and it stems from her reporting two years ago on the Detroit Police Department’s oversight system, which she did with an earlier grant from the Fund. That reporting prompted Ikonomova to take a closer look at the many department shootings deemed justified by the oversight system and prosecutors, with a focus on identifying a rate at which officers may have acted inappropriately. Experts said it’s the first effort to broadly track whether police-shooting survivors went on to be charged with or convicted of violent crimes. The new investigation took a year to report, and it required extensive work to identify police-shooting survivors after city officials refused to release their names, citing privacy concerns.