42ºF

Detroit police Chief Craig addresses video showing officers making violent arrest

Prosecutor considers charges against DPD officer

Detroit police Chief James Craig speaks to the media about a violent arrest caught on video. (Aug. 24, 2017/WDIV)
Detroit police Chief James Craig speaks to the media about a violent arrest caught on video. (Aug. 24, 2017/WDIV)

DETROIT – Chief James Craig addressed a video that surfaced showing a Detroit police officer making a rough arrest at a gas station in May.

Local 4 obtained the video Wednesday, and there are many questions surrounding its contents. A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the city and the officers involved.

READ: Detroit men sue city, police officers for alleged unlawful arrest caught on camera

Craig said the case was forwarded to the Wayne County prosecutor on Friday to consider handing down charges. The officer is on restricted duty.

“Force is only used to overcome resistance,” Craig said. “In a perfect scenario, we would want to be able to take someone into custody without using any force.”

The video starts with two officers from the Detroit Police Special Operations Unit looking like they're about to arrest a man, but then they let him off the ground. The man circles around the gas pumps, with his friend recording as the police officer followed him part-way around. 

When the man walked back into the gas station, the officer followed him inside. The video doesn't show what happened initially, but it captured the officer breaking out his Mace.

"You done just Maced him, bro," the cameraman said.

"I'm going to need you to back up," the second officer said.

Craig alleges the man threw a punch before he was maced and that it was captured on store surveillance. Craig said the store surveillance video will not be released due to a pending criminal investigation.

The first officer then threw the man against a rack of food and put him down on the ground.

“At this point, if the officer involved with the force incident had prior contact with the suspect, there’s a probability that there was some prior history,” Craig said.

The lawsuit states that Craft had been harassed by the officers before.

Police said the officer is now on desk duty awaiting word on what might happen with the investigation. 

You can watch the full video from the witness below. Some of the footage is intense.

Sign up for ClickOnDetroit Email Newsletters (click here) for more stories like this.