In a video that surfaced on Facebook Monday evening, two police officers from different agencies are accused of beating a handcuffed man on a Detroit sidewalk. WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE
According to Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody, it happened around 1:30 p.m. on Monday near Pickford and Plainview.
In the video, you can see a man laying on the sidewalk and it appears he is face down in the snow. It is unknown if he is handcuffed at this time. One officer has him pinned down and is sitting on the man's back when the video starts. Just four seconds into the video, the officer pulls his fist back and punches the man several times. A second officer picks something up off the ground then kicks the man a few times.
The video was shot by a woman who witnessed the entire thing. FOX 2's Erika Erickson spoke with her, who asked not to be identified. She said it was wrong what police did and that's why she started recording with her phone.
She said she was stunned to see two officers beating the man, who was face down with his hands behind his back, before cuffing him then assaulting him again.
"It was just wrong. Outright wrong," she said "Cuffed. Can't defend and bound. and on the ground. There was no purpose, from my point of view, for them to do what they did."
The punches and kicks continued for a few seconds as the second officer calls for backup. After a final swing at the man, the first officer stands up and it appears the man is handcuffed at this time. Shortly after, the man could be heard calling for Jesus.
The second officer then kneels on his back and asks "What did you say? Jesus? Are you calling Jesus? Don't you dare! Don't you [expletive] dare!"
The officers are seen doing a fist-bump saying "good job" while another Harper woods officer, also part of the task force, says "that's a justified a** whoopin."
The video is nine minutes long and the punching, kicking and verbal assault ends at around the one minute mark.
Grosse Point Park Police released a statement Tuesday to the media saying that the man in the video was wanted for a carjacking. Police say an armed suspect pointed a gun at a mother and her two children and ordered them out and he threatened to shoot them.
Using the car's tracking service, police found the car and watched it for two hours. Police say a man fitting the victim's description got into the car and drove away. Police followed him and tried to arrest him after he pulled into a driveway. Police say he then tried to run but was taken down about a quarter of a mile away.
Police say they tried to use a Taser but it failed due to the heavy clothes he was wearing. Here's what David Hiller with Grosse Pointe Park said led to the punches and kicking:
"The subject continued to reach for the area of his waist band and refused all orders to show his hands. He curled up in a ball and his right hand again went under his clothing. Fearing for their safety and those in the immediate area, an officer delivered a kick to the thigh area of the subject thus allowing the other officers the ability to arrest the subject. Located in his waist band was a loaded semi-automatic handgun."
For the witness, the beating will replay in her mind.
"Arrest the guy, cuff him, take him to jail, simple as that. Point blank, as simple as that. All of that brutality is not necssary," she said what he did doesn't justify what they did in response. "They should be reprimanded. They hould lose their jobs."
The video was uploaded to the FOX 2 Facebook page and has almost 100,000 views in less than a day.
Sgt. Woody said the officers in the video are with the Grosse Pointe Police Department and Highland Park and both are part of a task force. Detroit police officers were at the scene at the request of GPPD. Detroit says officers were not involved and have wrapped up their investigation.
The man's name has not been released. They say he is on parole for armed robbery and admitted to stealing the vehicle to "get drugs". Police said he was an extremely dangerous felon and had to use various techniques to get him under arrest. They call the actions of the officers "proper" and are continue to review the incident.
After watching the video, Mayor Mike Duggan asked Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to review the incident. Worthy tells FOX 2 she's asked Michigan State Police to conduct an independent investigation.