Prosecutor's office returns resisting warrant against man beaten with baton at Meijer in Detroit

City pursues disorderly conduct charge

By John Steckroth - Editor

Still images from cellphone video and surveillance video showing an off-duty Detroit police officer using a baton on a wrongfully accused shoplifter at Meijer in Detroit on Sunday, October 8, 2017. (WDIV)

DETROIT - The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office returned the Detroit Police Department's request for a warrant of resisting and obstructing for a man wrongfully accused of retail fraud and beaten with a baton by an off-duty officer at a Meijer store.

The incident prompted claims of police brutality after cellphone video circulated social media. David Bivins was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and resisting and obstruction. The interaction with police began with accusations of retail fraud.

Detroit police Chief James Craig held a news conference Monday evening as the cell phone video continued to be shared across social media. The Detroit Police Department released surveillance video Tuesday from inside the store showing the moments before and after the incident.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy returned the police's warrant request for further investigation.

The Wayne County Circuit Court entered a writ of habeas corpus Monday directing the Bivins be released. However, the City of Detroit Law Department charged Bivins with disorderly conduct, according to the man's attorney.

What happened

Bivins' girlfriend said they were shopping Sunday at the Meijer store at Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile Road. When they left, loss protection employees approached them.

“We walked into the Meijer, went shopping like normal, purchased our items,” Ross said. “We did come in with outside bags from another store. We did emphasize to keep them separate that way they could see.”

According to Ross, it was quickly discovered that the items were not stolen and she returned the items immediately after the embarrassment of being accused of stealing. When she returned, her boyfriend was being struck with a baton.

Watch the new surveillance video released by police below:

A crowd gathered in the immediate area of the altercation.

Bivins lost a tooth during the arrest.

Watch the cell phone video which circulated social media:

"That was just wrong," Ross said.

In another video shot by Ross, the officer says he arrested the man for his use of profanity.

“I tried to get him to shut up,” the officer says in the video.

Watch the cell phone video shot by Ross below:

Chief Craig calls use of force 'appropriate'

Detroit police Chief James Craig responded to the police brutality claims Monday.

Craig said the officer involved in the arrest is a 39-year veteran of the Detroit police force and was working off-duty as a security guard at the store. The 65-year-old officer was in uniform at the time. Craig said the department calls it "secondary employment."

The officer was not wearing a body camera because he was not on duty.

Craig called the incident a "quick escalation from what initially turned out to be active resisting to active aggression."

The chief said the force used during the arrest was appropriate, proper and reasonable. He said the officer’s report claimed Bivins was “very agitated.”

Craig said Bivins does not have an arrest record.

Chief Craig forwarded warrant requests to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, which were denied Tuesday. However, the City of Detroit Law Department charged Bivins with disorderly conduct.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

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