Use of police force under investigation in Sterling Heights; 2 officers on leave

An alleged domestic assault led to a drunken high-speed chase, culminating in a police use of force.

Police on video: "Get on the ground, get on the ground!"

Garry Young was charged with five felonies and three misdemeanors, including assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, fleeing, domestic violence, operating with a suspended license.

"There were prior drunk driving charges with this person, and in this case he was double the legal limit, while he was fleeing the officers," said Chief Dale Dwojakowski, Sterling Heights police.

Sterling Heights PD say it started February 25  when they took an assault call on Green Trees Road.

Young is accused of beating his girlfriend, ripping her clothes off — and choking her 16-year-old daughter, who tried to stop him.

Victim on police video "He told me to shut the **** up. "

Police officer on video: "And he put his arms around you?"

Victim: "Yep."

Police officer: "Around your throat?"

Victim: "Yeah, right here."

Police officer: "One hand, two hands?"

Victim: "One."

Young then returned to the house while officers are there. They tried to get him to exit his vehicle — 16 times.

Police say that Young was fiddling with something inside the car — and were warned — he could be armed. It turns out, it was pepper spray.

At the same time, officers deployed stopsticks.

Young fled in his vehicle — and the sticks blew out one of his tires. Police, knowing he was drunk and already allegedly hurt a child, pursued.

"We wanted to get him in custody and we wanted to make sure the people inside that house were safe," said Dwojakowski. "And we thought that was the most prudent thing to do."

The chase lasted 13 miles — going through six red lights, almost hitting a pedestrian — and with Young receiving two more flat tires.

Once Young's vehicle hobbled to a halt on Gratiot at I-94 — he didn't surrender. And police say they issued 23 more commands to stop resisting.

Police got physical, utilizing a Taser, a K9 which can be seen biting Young — and one officer repeatedly punching Young in the face.

"Whenever force is used in an arrest, it never looks good," the chief said. "That’s why whenever we have these significant events occur, standard protocol and what our policy calls for, is an outside independent investigation."

Two officers in the bodycam footage are on paid leave — as the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office conducts its investigation.

Depending on their findings on whether that level of force was justified, the prosecutor's office will take it from there.

The use of force lasted about a minute and police say after it happened, they say Young was taken for medical attention for minor injuries.

*UPDATE (6:30): Southfield attorney Arnold Reed has been retained by the family of Young in the Feb. 25 arrest. 

Reed compared the use of force to a "gang-style beating" by numerous men who "just happen to wear badges."

"This is disgusting and is not the way law enforcement should conduct themselves. The truth of the matter is, my client was on the ground defenseless," Reed said in a statement. "This is a classic case of extreme and outrageous conduct that could have taken a life. No matter what my client is accused of, what you see on this tape is completely unjustifiable. Animals are treated better."