Detroiters are waging paintball wars as a way to stop gang violence

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the #PaintballsUpGunsDown movement has gotten out of control and could backfire if officers mistake a paintball gun for a real firearm.
May 10, 2018, 2:04am

Police in several cities across the U.S. are trying to put a stop to the groups of men waging paintball battles as a part of #PaintballsUpGunsDown — an anti-gun violence campaign police are calling misguided.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the #PaintballsUpGunsDown movement has gotten out of control and could backfire if officers mistake a paintball gun for a real firearm.

The grassroots movement first gained traction on social media in early April as a proposed way to resolve conflicts with paint instead of bullets. Since then, participants from Atlanta to Detroit have engaged in full blown paintball wars on city streets, with as many as 50 shooters taking aim at each other at once, hitting innocent bystanders and marking up cars and homes.

Over the last week, police in Detroit started making arrests for destruction of property. Paintballers say they're being targeted for being young and black and that cleaning up paint is a lot better than picking up dead bodies.

This segment originally aired May 9, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.