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Commissioner Willie Burton out on bond after arrest during Detroit Police Board of Commissioners meeting

Released after posting bail
Posted: 8:12 PM, Jul 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-12 07:58:56-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Things got heated at the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners meeting Thursday night. Chaos erupted after a commissioner was arrested. Protesters were also in attendance wearing masks to hide their identity in protest of the use of facial recognition technology in the city.

"Get your hands off me. Get your hands of me. Don’t touch me," Commissioner Burton said as police attempted to remove him from the meeting.

Chair of the board, Lisa Carter, ordered Burton's removal.

"For the third time you’re out of order, and I’m going to ask that Commissioner Burton please be removed from the meeting," Carter said.

Burton was taken away in handcuffs after the Chair asked him to be removed when she said his time for comment was up.

"He just asked her what is she going to do differently," Commissioner Darryl Brown said.

Chaos then ensued as those in attendance didn’t approve of Burton's removal. Most were in attendance to protest the use of facial recognition.

Protesters were symbolically wearing masks as a sign to shield their identity. Community advocates say they wanted to have a peaceful protest and get their message out.

"We need to ensure that our voice is heard," said community activist Tom Choske. "Unfortunately, things got a little out of hand and we lost that respect. We lost that civility and I’m concerned that our message got lost."

The facial recognition technology would be used in crimes like carjacking, home invasion, robbery, murder or sexual assault.

"I’m all for technology and giving our officers the things that they need to do their jobs, to make them easier," Commissioner Brown said.

The use of facial recognition is a controversial debate. Until policies are in place, many people, even police commissioners, wonder how this technology will ensure privacy.

The meeting was held at the Durfee Innovation Society.

"We have to make sure we have sound policy and that we have technology that really works, that can give us what we need," Brown said.

Commissioner Burton was arrested for disorderly conduct. Shortly after, he posted bail and was released.