A bystander’s disturbing video shows a Detroit police officer punching a mentally ill woman at least 10 times at a hospital.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that the officer involved has been suspended with pay as he also refused to name the officer while a criminal investigation into the matter remains ongoing. Craig said the officer is also entitled to “due process.”
The incident started when the police responded on Wednesday night to a “lewd and lascivious in progress” call around 6:45 p.m. The woman was seen walking around the neighborhood naked. The woman did not appear agitated then, but passive.
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The officers did not handcuff the woman then, and for Craig that is a point of concern. He said: “We know from our training and experience anytime we transport someone, particularly if they are suffering from mental illness for their safety and for the officers’ safety and the community’s safety that we handcuff.”
The officers gave the woman a robe to cover herself, placed her in the mobile car and brought her to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hLr3eoAlxac" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Once at the hospital, however, things took a turn for the worse. The unnamed woman became agitated, took off her robe and became hostile to hospital staff. Craig said she spat on hospital employees, bit a security staffer twice, and tried to bite the officer who is later accused of repeatedly punching her.
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The bystander video clearly shows the officer, his partner and two security guards trying to control the woman. At some point, the woman turned her back toward the officer who had hit her.
The video shows the officer continuing to hit at the woman at least 10 times. Craig said that’s also a point of concern for them as officers should not continue to use “hard hands” on someone who turns their back.
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The woman had bruises and was treated for minor injuries.
Craig said they will continue to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter including at looking at all angles and other sources of evidence, including body camera footage.
The officer involved is only described as an 18-year veteran who’s had six minor use of force incidents before, the most recent in 2015.