Washtenaw County Sheriff to release video showing deputy punching black woman: What to know

Family says deputy used excessive force in arrest

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

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office will release new video and information after a deputy was filmed repeatedly punching a black woman during an arrest in Ypsilanti Township.

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

What happened

On the evening of Memorial Day, a video of a women being punched by a Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputy went viral on social media.

Video shows Washtenaw Co. Sheriff's Deputy repeatedly punching woman.

The victim’s daughter, Jaquisy Diggins, spoke to Local 4′s Victor Williams earlier this week.

“The officer punched my mom in the face three times for no reason and she is a female. She was helpless, she wasn’t doing anything,” Diggins said.

The viral video was captured by Tovah Taylor on Apple Ridge Street in Ypsilanti Township.

“It was getting crazy. It just seemed like it was more police than what was necessary. Her husband seen it and turned around then taxed him. It was crazy,” Taylor said.

The sheriff’s department was called to scene on reports 30 people were arguing and shots had been fired. Upon arrival, the responding deputies found a 34-year-old female gunshot victim who required medical attention and several bystanders observing the scene, prompting a call to other police agencies for assistance.

“It started all over an argument, altercation, over something crazy. Some females got into it. A girl lost and somebody got to shooting,” Diggins said. She and her sister Charity said their parents are Moorish Americans.

“We aren’t U.S. citizens. We’re free Moorish Americans, and we go by our own law,” Charity El said.

Authorities said the deputies took the action against Shatina Grady El and her husband, Dan Grady El, after they ignored an order to leave the scene of a shooting as officers formed a perimeter to keep community members away from a potential shooter.

When their mother stood her ground and refused to stop recording, that’s when the incident began.

“The police came harassing me and my mother and we weren’t doing nothing but reciting and saying our rights,” Diggins said.

Shatina Grady El was granted administrative release on Friday, with the condition that she have no contact with the complainants in her cases.

Investigation launched

Several staff members at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton spoke to Local 4 regarding a viral video that has prompted outrage. He said the video doesn’t reflect the true image of the department.

Clayton says as an African American and the sheriff of Washtenaw County it was disheartening to watch the video of one of his deputies repeatedly punching a woman while trying to make an arrest.

Sheriff reacts to 'disturbing' video showing deputy punching woman.

In his statement, Clayton said his office is investigating the use of force against the Grady Els and their arrests. He says the sheriff’s department is committed to sharing all the facts in the case with the public as it becomes available.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell released a statement on the incident on Thursday:

“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.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.