Detroit police chief defends officer's baton use in arrest caught on video

Image 1 of 2

A chaotic scene outside the Meijer store on Eight Mile near Woodward in Detroit Sunday evening.

People in the parking lot say a Detroit police officer used excessive force on a man walking into the store around 9 p.m., striking him with a baton to exert that excessive force on the man.

The video then has the sound of a hitting noise and members of the crowd were upset and angry demanding information from the officer.

So FOX 2 sent that eyewitness video down to police headquarters so Chief James Craig could view it.

Craig says the officer is a 39-year member of the force who was off-duty and in uniform working a secondary job at Meijer. But the incident is being treated as an on-duty incident.

"He was contacted by security for possible retail fraud," Craig said.

When the officer and the man made contact in the entryway of the store, security left and investigators say the  23-year-old man became violent

"At that point the officer removed his side handle because at that point the officer believed he was resisting, the officer gave suspect several strikes," Craig said. "Preliminarily I can say the officer acted appropriately given the aggressive behavior of the suspect and his response to it."

The chief says the investigation is still in the beginning  stages but there was no evidence of retail fraud. The suspect was arrested for disorderly conduct resisting and obstruction.

The suspect also received an injury to his lip and had a broken tooth.  Still the chief says it does not mean that down line they may find some issues.

"What I would have preferred is if the officer requested assistance," Craig said.