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Washtenaw County sheriff reacts to excessive force investigation following ‘disturbing’ viral video

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – 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.

READ: Investigation underway after video goes viral showing Washtenaw County deputy striking woman during arrest

“Obviously, it’s an unfortunate situation. The images themselves are disturbing to me,” said Sheriff Clayton.

That’s the reason why he wants the residents of the county and the rest of the world that’s watching via social media to know those actions don’t represent the department at all.

“We have spent over a decade working and culturing the organization and partnering with the community and co-producing public safety,” recalled Sheriff Clayton.

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

But that’s not stopping the mass numbers of protesters downright angry at what took place.

The sheriff also believes this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

“We had this incident on Tuesday all combined with what’s happening in Minnesota and Georgia and Louisville and quite frankly -- what has happened in the African American community, especially with relationships with the police for decades,” Clayton said.

As of now, the deputy involved is on paid administrative leave at least until the results of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association investigation are revealed.

“We have asked them to make it a high priority so we can get what we need so we can make the decisions that we need to make,” Clayton said.

The couple originally arrested in this incident have been released. It’s unclear if they’ll be charged, that’s also pending the investigation.