As his department’s viral dance video exceeded 2 million views, Detroit Police Chief James Craig called a press conference Tuesday, put some heat on his peers and called out the nay-sayers.
The agency, he said, has crushed its competition in the Running Man Challenge, a digitally-shared dance-off police and fire departments have joined in to Ghost Town DJ’s 1990s hit song, “My Boo.” Craig said he may be meeting with New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, to give him some choreography help.
“Because frankly, New York didn’t do so well,” he said. “And LA, the great city of Los Angeles, needs a re-do… Miami was leading of all the police departments that had posted. We took ’em out in two hours.”
The Detroit video posted late Monday night to Facebook had accrued more than 86,000 shares and 47,000 likes Tuesday afternoon. It features dozens of Detroit officers pulling slick dance moves and even break-dancing in iconic downtown settings. At one point, Craig issues challenges Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, dropping a utility belt.
In response to some comments that they should be out fighting crime, Craig said the time was worth it for community relations, morale and recruitment.
“It’s no surprise, across this nation, there’s a lot of anti-police rhetoric,” he said. “Do you believe this might have a profound impact on reducing that? I mean, you talk about how many shares so far? People like it, they appreciate it, and this is a move in the right direction.”
The video included people across the department, from top leadership to new recruits. Craig said the idea started after someone shared the Los Angeles Police Department’s video and issued the challenge to Detroit.
Police Sgt. Michael Woody worked with Corporal Eriberto Torres and others to practice and shoot the video in three days. Torres, who choreographs for the LaShelle’s School of Dance in Oak Park, said it was “a little stressful” creating the celebrated video.
“Usually it takes way over two weeks for a professional, high-quality” video, said Torres, 47.
Craig said his officers “are some of the best of the best,” and crime statistics in a number of categories are decreasing here as they rise in other cities.
“To the naysayers, get off the fence, stop throwing peaches,” he said. “Get involved, be part of the solution. It’s just that simple.”