Detroit Chris Brown has been dancing on the corners of Harper and Cadieux and Moross and Kelly on the city’s east side for over a decade. He is a staple in the community and drivers love his entertainment as they pass by, dancing to songs by his favorite artist.
His real name is Darius Jones of Detroit and he had a run-in with the Detroit Police Department (DPD) December 7 while dancing on his usual corner of Moross and Kelly. During the incident that was captured on Jones’ cellphone video, two DPD officers confronted Jones, who nearly ended up in jail. The officers said they were responding to complaints of Jones’ presence on the corners and advised him not to return using rather vulgar language.
“Am I not talking to you right now? Then look at me and listen to what the f*** I’m telling you,” said one of the officers. “We’re done with this s***. Unless you want to go to jail, don’t be out here.”
The video quickly went viral in Detroit and garnered some community outrage. Detroit Chris Brown is known and loved by Detroiters who are aware of him and the consensus is that he is harmless. But DPD did not completely agree with that. The department investigated the tense confrontation and held a press conference on the corner where the incident occurred Wednesday afternoon.
“The Detroit Police Department, the Detroit Police Chief, and I do not condone the language used by our officers during the encounter with the individual that was dancing,” said DPD Deputy Chief over east side operations Elvin Barren. “This department strives for professional conduct at all times. I had a conversation with both officers regarding their conduct and both officers expressed concern and remorse for how they conducted themselves. They understand there will be departmental discipline that follow this.”
“Also, I want to tell the full story. In that same vein, I’ve gotten numerous calls from community stakeholders and neighborhood block groups who express to me that they’ve called the 9th Precinct to do something about Darius as he dances on these corners causing obstruction of traffic.”
Barren said DPD has received six complaints on Jones since December 26, 2018, ranging from impeding traffic by doing pushups in the street, using a loud speaker to sing, panhandling, using profanity, performing obscene dance moves, and even a fear of a carjacking when he runs up to cars doing red lights. But Jones, who is 28 and lives in nearby Harper Woods, did not agree with the complaints.
“This is the first time that this has ever happened to me,” he said. “Those cops pulled up and harassed me, disrespected me, and put my mother in it. They were talking to me any kind of way while I was calm, and I want to sue them.”
“I’ve been dancing out here since I was little, and no one has ever bothered me. By me dancing, I’m spreading positivity, and being a role model for these kids. I have a lot of supporters and God has given me this gift of bringing joy to this world.”
In the video, the officer also threatened to arrest Jones if he returned to the corner to dance and even said he would arrest his mother.
“I explained to you already, next time I’m taking that s*** and I’m taking you,” said one of the officers. “I talked with your mother and I explained to your mother how I will go after her and charge her if I have to.”
Jones said he did not know why DPD was harassing him and wants an apology for how he was treated.
“They just don’t want to see me shining,” Jones said. “I’m going to shine. No one is going to stop me from shining. They need to stop focusing on the wrong thing. I’m trying to make the world a better place.”
Barren said a business owner in the area may have called the police on Jones, but talking to those in the surrounding community, for as many people who want him removed from the corners, there are just as many people, if not more, who enjoy seeing him in the northeast Detroit neighborhood.
“He’s been dancing ever since I’ve been living on the east side in the Warren and Cadieux area,” said Kevin Thomas, who works at the Dr. Golden Laser dental office on the corner of Moross and Kelly. “I have yet to see anyone complain to where the police need to be involved. He doesn’t pan-handle and he treats all the ladies with respect.”
Jones even showed up with his Spirit of Detroit Award that was given to him in 2017 by District 3 City Councilman Scott Benson. The awards are given to a person, event or organization for an outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit. Not someone who is a threat to the community.
“I’ve been watching him for years and I have videos of him from 2014 of him dancing,” said Sarah “Butta” Davis, who is a supporter and good friend of Jones. “You can be having a bad day, ride by and see him, and he’ll make your day. When he was gifted with the award, he bought me a Christmas gift, so in return, I took him to the Chris Brown concert. He’s just out here doing what he loves.”
As for Jones being able to dance on the corner, Barren said it is not illegal for Jones to dance on the sidewalks or street corners, he just has to do it in a safe and appropriate manner. If he does not abide by that, Barren said Jones would be cited for disturbing the peace.
Detroit Chris Brown’s favorite song is “With You” and he said he will not be saying deuces to dancing on the corner.