ICYMI: James Craig’s “Lead From the Front” Theme Doesn’t Hold Up in Light of Carjacking Scene He Fled in 2013

LANSING — Detroit Free Press revisited a scrutinized incident from 2013 when then-DPD chief James Craig “fled a suspected carjacker who approached his unmarked police car one night.” Since his handling of the incident doesn’t line up with his often repeated claim on the campaign trail that he “led from the front” in his law enforcement career, Craig is now trying to rehab his image.

Here’s the facts.

In 2013, multiple outlets reported that Craig did flee the scene of a potential carjacking. The primary source corroborating these accounts were Craig himself:

  • Headline – Detroit Police Chief James Craig: I Was Nearly Carjacked [MLive, 10/23/13]
  • James Craig: “An individual jumped out of his car while I was stopped at a light and approached my driver’s side. I recognized what it was and got out of harm’s way.” [WDIV, 10/22/13]
  • James Craig: “ And one suspect jumped out and began running toward the passenger side of my vehicle… As soon as I saw the suspect running to my car, I accelerated out of harm’s way.” [Detroit News, 10/23/13]

But now that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for governor, he’s attempting to change the story:

  • “I wasn’t looking to drive away and get to safety…as my training would dictate, I made an evasive move — an evasive tactic if you will. I made a U-turn and got behind the car.”

Detroit Free Press found Craig’s revisionist pushback notable as there was extensive negative coverage of his actions at the time but “it is not clear why” those headlines never caused him to “attempt to correct the record, or even expand on it, before Thursday.” 

MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:

“Last time we checked literally running away from crime as police chief isn’t “leading from the front.” And it seems like even James Craig knows that since now he’s trying to change his story. Regardless of how he wants to tell it, Craig swore an oath to serve and protect Detroit. But when the time came to do just that, he instead fled from the front. Now he’s singing a different tune. Michiganders deserve a leader who won’t abandon their duty and then cover their tracks.”

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