DETROIT (WJBK) - New video released shows a controversial confrontation between a Detroit police officer and a customer at a Meijer store.
The Detroit Police Department released the video Tuesday of an altercation involving an officer and a suspect at the Meijer on Eight Mile near Woodward Sunday night.
"When I (watched) it just made me cringe when I saw this man struck numerous times with a baton," said Kenneth Reed, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. "
Both the store surveillance video and FOX 2 viewer video show a 39-year veteran of the force hitting a suspect with a baton many times. It was a chaotic scene in front of dozens of on-lookers.
The officer was off-duty but in police uniform. working a secondary security job at Meijer. It is being treated as an on-duty incident.
"The suspect became very agitated, according to the officer in his report," DPD Chief James Craig said. "He made some profane remarks in a very hostile manner to the officer. The suspect became more aggressive, it appeared he grabbed the side handle baton and began to pull the officer from the entryway.
"He pulled him out so hard he pulled him out of the store and they both fell."
The 23-year-old man who was hit was suspected of shop lifting but it was later determined that he never actually stole anything. Still, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting obstruction.
"When other citizens witnessed this type of barbaric behavior by the police officers, they are leery to work with law enforcement," Reed said. "Because the switch can be flipped and they can become the victim of police brutality and misconduct."
The suspect's lip was cut and his tooth was broken as a result of the beating.
"He hit that man in the head," Reed said. "A couple inches higher he could have hit him across his forehead and we're talking about something different."
Detroit police say the entire incident is under investigation.
"I would have preferred that early on when the officer realized that this thing was beginning to escalate," Craig said. "That he had taken time to notify dispatch and requested assistance."