By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Four men carrying video equipment and firearms outside a local medical facility the morning of June 20 tried to provoke responding police officers, Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton said.
Calls from fearful medical workers at the Beaumont Medical Building, 1700 Biddle Ave., made police officers aware of the presence of the armed men.
Hamilton said two police officers, who wore body-worn cameras, approached the men in a respectful manner, based on information from dispatch.
“The men were antagonizing and obviously wanted confrontation,” he said. “They demanded to know the names of the officers, despite their last names being clearly displayed on their uniforms.”
Hamilton said the men then squeaked plastic toy pigs at the officers.
“They called an officer a ‘tyrant,’ and refused to intelligently communicate with the officers,” he said. “Unfortunately, this type of behavior is not uncommon.”
Hamilton said the behavior is often seen in fringe groups operating under the guise of protecting citizen rights, while actually operating under an ulterior motive.
“That ulterior motive is to cause trouble, create confrontation with the police, gain attention and ultimately file a lawsuit to collect money,” he said. “Their interest is not protecting the First and Second Amendments of the United States, as they claim. It is personal gain at the expense of others.”
Hamilton said that, in Michigan, people may carry a firearm, and they may videotape in areas open to the public. However, the perpetrators of mass shootings have been known to video record their killings.
“We live in an era where mass shootings are becoming contagious,” he said. “For this reason, I do not blame anyone who calls the police when they see questionable characters armed with firearms carrying cameras.”
Hamilton said that often, this type of a call leads to troublemakers seeking a confrontation, but there is always a chance that the person’s intentions could be more serious.
“What if it is actually someone walking toward a business, school or public event to commit a mass murder?” he asked. “It is ridiculous that police officers have to tolerate ignorant people like this while attempting to ensure public safety.”
Hamilton said there is a misconception that officers must act as “servants” and provide their name and badge number immediately when requested to do so.
“Wyandotte police officers are to be courteous to citizens, but they are not required to answer nonsensical questions,” he said. “And they are definitely not required or expected to be treated as floor mats by troublemakers who are educated by what they read on the Internet.”