DETROIT (AP) — Stepped up police enforcement is planned this weekend in Detroit to quell a social media-publicized citywide paintball war that — so far — has resulted in six arrests and left an unmarked patrol car splattered.
Chief James Craig referred Friday to the running battle along city streets as “Paint Up, Guns Down,” and said organizers are pitching it as an alternative to gun and other violence.
“If you want to work with us and stop the violence, there are a number of things we can do together, but having paintball wars across the city is not the way to do it,” said Craig said during a news conference.
On Wednesday night, Davon Williams, 22, was arrested when nearly a dozen paintballs struck Capt. Darrell Patterson’s vehicle. The paintballs rained on the unmarked car after Patterson turned on its emergency lights when he saw about 50 people with paintball guns shooting at each other.
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Williams was arraigned Friday on assault and propelling an object at a vehicle charges — both misdemeanors. He faces a May 10 pretrial hearing. Court records did not list an attorney Friday for Williams.
Five other people were arrested, with four being ticketed for disorderly conduct. No injuries were reported.
Craig said he’s more concerned about what could have happened.
“I’m calling them replica firearms, because when you look at some of these paint guns they look just like an actual firearm,” he said. “With armed citizens, police officers when confronted with someone with a replica weapon — or in this case a paint gun — they may make the mistake of thinking it’s a real firearm and feel threatened.”