Detroit Police Lieutenant Who was Filmed Telling Protestor to 'Go Back to Mexico' Relieved of Duties

Detroit police officer
Stills from the video being circulated on social media. Twitter

A viral video of a Detroit lieutenant with the Detroit Police Department's interaction with a pro-Palestinian protester has led to the lieutenant being placed on administrative duties,

According to the Associated Press, the incident took place on Sunday, May 19, outside Huntington Place in Detroit where President Joe Biden delivered the keynote address during an NAACP fundraiser.

'Why Don't You Just Go Back to Mexico?'

The video footage, which is now being widely circulated on social media, shows the female protestor and the lieutenant about 10 feet apart when the officer says "why don't you just go back to Mexico?"

When the female protestor says she's not from Mexico, the lieutenant continues "Cause that's where you were hanging out. Go back and hang out in Mexico. Go party in Mexico again."

Investigation Ordered Against the Lieutenant, Department Says Comment was in Reference to Protester's Recent Vacation

Detroit Police Chief James White said he reviewed the footage and ordered an internal affairs investigation that will also look to determine if department policy was violated. As part of the investigation, the lieutenant -- who has not been named publicly -- was relieved of his duties related to policing protests and demonstrations.

Cmdr. Michael McGinnis says the department later learned that the protestor had recently visited Mexico and the officer in question was already aware of that.

"His comment was related to her returning to vacation," McGinnis said. "When you add that context, it changes the egregiousness of the interaction. Though it does not eliminate concerns Chief White has, it does change the storyline."

While addressing the media Monday, White express his own personal displeasure at the situation. "I was offended. In fact, I was outraged by what I saw," White said. "We support peaceful protests."