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Washtenaw County Sheriff: Body cam footage from deputy shows woman bit officer

Investigation underway after video goes viral showing Washtenaw County deputy striking woman during arrest.
Investigation underway after video goes viral showing Washtenaw County deputy striking woman during arrest. (WDIV)

ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton held a press conference on Friday afternoon in which he showed approximately 45 minutes of body cam footage from the night one of his deputies was caught on camera punching a woman repeatedly in the head while conducting an arrest.

The original video, filmed by a bystander, went viral on social media and prompted protests in the county.

Footage from the deputy in question’s body cam reveals Sha’Teina Grady El bit the officer during the altercation. The officer is heard shouting, “You bit me” and “She bit me” before a freeze frame reveals a large bite mark on his left arm.

According to Sheriff Clayton, Grady El bit the deputy first and he responded by punching her.

As officers transferred Grady El to a police car in handcuffs, she can be heard saying to another deputy, “B****, you want to get bit, too?”

Officers were called to the scene in Ypsilanti Township late Monday night with reports of a gathering of 30 people, fighting and gunshots. According to the body cam footage, an officer tended to a gunshot victim who was sitting in her car. She said she was attacked by a man and a woman while trying to visit her friend. She described the gunman to police and was transported to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. She is in stable condition.

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As the officers attempted to create a perimeter around the house where the alleged gunman was located, they encountered Grady El, who was filming the scene on her phone, and her husband Dan Grady El. After officers asked them to leave the scene and they resisted, a decision was made to take them into custody, according to the body cam footage.

A physical altercation ensued, and Sha’Teina Grady El was put into handcuffs. According to Sheriff Clayton, her husband was warned, tased and also arrested.

Sheriff Clayton would not comment on whether punching is an appropriate use of force against a suspect or if it is part of training. He said he would only comment on the matter after three separate investigations are conducted.

When pressed by reporters, Clayton said, “We do not have it written that you can never punch."

“Our training is really around what kind of resistant behavior do you encounter and what kind of control or force technique that you use,” Clayton said. “You have to look at the environment, what’s the likelihood of injury.”

Clayton said a “thorough investigation” has been launched into staff behavior and that the officer involved in the physical altercation with Grady El has been placed on administrative leave.

Attorney General Dana Nessel has agreed to receive a criminal report and will be conducting a separate investigation. Nessel will determine whether or not to press charges against the officers, said Clayton.

The body cam footage was released after days of protests outside the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and on Washtenaw Avenue near US-23 where hundreds of protesters gathered to demand answers for excessive force used by the sheriff’s deputy.

“Our intent here is to provide as much information to the community as possible as they make decisions and contemplate what’s going on," said Clayton.

New video released of Washtenaw County deputy's encounter with woman
New video released of Washtenaw County deputy's encounter with woman

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.