Letter to the editor

Editor:
Any comments criticizing the Dearborn Police Department or their handling of the Investigation of the shooting at a warehouse near Michigan Avenue and Miller Road are inappropriate and ill-informed. The Dearborn Police Department under the leadership of Chief Ron Haddad has conducted the investigation of this unfortunate incident in a thorough and professional manner.

I must stress that the Dearborn police had no involvement of any kind in the execution of the multi-agency operation. When a potential crime occurs in our city, it is the duty of our law enforcement agency to gather the facts and turn the results over to the appropriate prosecuting agency. This is as true for an FBI shooting as for any other type. Our duty is to gather all possible facts relating to the incident from every possible source. Only after we are certain that we have examined all relevant information do we complete the report and forward it.

The incident in Dearborn can be described as a sting operation in a warehouse that was to apprehend persons fencing stolen goods or otherwise actively engaged in a criminal act. The FBI agents and other participating agents were there and armed in the expectation that the other parties in the transaction would also be armed. When the shooting victim and his associates arrive they were also armed. It is not difficult to understand the inherent danger in that situation. When the agents attempted to arrest the parties suspected of criminal acts, at least one party apparently refused to surrender. The agents claim that gunfire ensued at that time.

I don’t know how many agents opened fire at that time or where they were standing or what type of weapon they were firing. Neither do any of the people criticizing the Dearborn Police. In fact, ironically, that is what the critics want to know. Unfortunately, absent the facts they are making up their own version. One of the reasons for delaying the medical examiner’s report was to wait until the ballistics reports were received to help make sense of the autopsy results. Clear evidence of where everyone in the facility was physically located and whether they fired and how many rounds also helps to paint a clearer picture.

I have no inside information about the investigation, only what has been made public. I am wise enough to know that a good deal more facts are necessary before an honest judgment can be made. Everyone involved needs to be fully interviewed and then the facts verified. All of the testimony has to be compared and analyzed, including the internal report from the Department of Justice. This report has not net been completed and made available to the Dearborn police. One of the practices in place within the Justice Department in these cases is to send their report to the Civil Rights Division for review. Those demanding this action should be aware that it is already done according to department policy. We in Dearborn support that policy. When emotions rush in, facts and logic exit.

This is a very serious matter and the city of Dearborn and the Dearborn Police Department are committed to the truth without regard to the consequences. I ask that everyone else focus on that goal instead of prejudging the outcome and criticizing those trying to get it right.

John B.O’Reilly Jr.
Dearborn Mayor

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