Detroit police are now investigating a chaotic and disturbing incident of one of their officers caught on camera repeatedly striking a naked woman inside an emergency room.
That officer has now been suspended, WJBK-TV reports.
On Wednesday, a officer reportedly tried to help accost a patient in the emergency at Detroit Receiving Hospital, according to reports. Police are saying the woman made a threat and then on the video the officer can be seen hammering the woman with punches, more than a dozen times.
Detroit police Chief James Craig told reporters Thursday that the video is “very disturbing,” and a criminal investigation is underway.
“There were points where the suspect had turned her back, but the officer continued to punch,” Craig said. “It was at that point we had grave concerns for the officer’s actions.”
The officer’s name has yet to be released.
Craig said the officer and his partner escorted the woman to the hospital Wednesday evening. They were responding to a call about a “lewd and lascivious” person, Craig said.
The woman was belligerent he said, and spat on the officer, security guard and hospital staff. However, Craig admits that the officers failed to follow protocol on the handling of a “mentally ill person”.
He said however, he believes the officers’ body camera footage reveals “a little bit of a different story” than the cellphone footage does.
The woman who recorded the video said she was visiting a relative at the hospital.
“So many of them, they could have restrained her or tried to stop him. He was physically giving her blows to the face, to the body,” the woman said. “The lady was screaming stop hitting her like that, don’t punch her like that.”
Kenneth Reed, of the police watchdog group Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, is calling for the officer’s immediate firing in light of the brutal video and released the following statement:
“A mentally ill woman was severely beaten by a Detroit Police officer yesterday. When we looked at the video, we saw an officer with corporal stripes who had total disdain for a citizen who was obviously ill. The hatred was palpable. These are officers who must be held to a higher standard. We applaud Chief Craig’s immediate suspension, but this officer, and others like him, must be taken off the streets permanently. He has forfeited the privilege of wearing a badge as an officer with his extreme and brutal response to a person whose mental faculties were obviously compromised. He is a danger to our citizenry. While he may punch today, he is at risk of shooting tomorrow.
“We urge Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to move expeditiously to press charges in this yet another egregious example of police misconduct against citizens.”