Rep. Debbie Dingell: Violent arrest of woman ‘very serious setback’ for Washtenaw community

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is seen in a hallway of the U.S. Capitol prior to an event at the Rayburn Room December 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump suggested her late husband, former Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), was "looking up" from hell during a campaign rally in Michigan on Wednesday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong, 2019 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) reacted on Wednesday to a video of a Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy punching a black woman several times while performing an arrest in Ypsilanti Township.

The incident, which took place on Monday, has sparked local and national outrage.

“The Washtenaw community is hurting,” Dingell said in a statement. “The incident that occurred this week causes all of us to search our conscience. Brutality by anyone is never ok and whenever we witness violence captured on video it is deeply disturbing. Sheriff Clayton is committed to a complete and thorough investigation of all the facts and he more than many understands how important and complicated these issues are. There are many committed law enforcement members who work hard every day and put their lives on the line for us.”

Dingell called for a transparent process and for those responsible to be held accountable.

“But no matter the outcome, this incident is a very serious setback for this community,” Dingell continued. “Community is strong when there is trust and respect for everyone, and that is now seriously undermined. We will all need to work together to rebuild respect, trust and strength among us. This is very serious challenge and will require much work by all citizens.”

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“There is absolutely no doubt, and no argument from me, that the images in the video are disturbing,” Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said in a statement following the incident.

An investigation has been launched and several Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office staff members have been placed on administrative leave.

Meanwhile, protesters blocked traffic at the intersection of Washtenaw Avenue and Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township and gathered outside the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office for a second consecutive day on Thursday.

The arrest of Sha’Teina Grady El occurred on the same day as the killing of 46-year-old black man George Floyd in Minnesota, who died from injuries inflicted by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s pleas that he had difficulty breathing.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.