Michigan Police Say Firing Taser on Man Holding Baby Was the ‘Safest Option’

Authorities are investigating shocking video of a Westland Police Department officer using a stun gun on a father holding his two-month-old baby in his arms.

The incident unfolded Friday, Aug. 17, when police arrived at Ray Brown’s Michigan home to investigate reports of a man who had physically assaulted a woman and damaged her property, according to WXYZ Detroit. Brown, who was enjoying a barbecue with friends at the time, insisted officers had the wrong home and an argument ensued.

Westland Police

In a statement, police said they felt deploying a taser directly to Ray Brown’s back was “the safest option.” (Kelvin Williams / Facebook video screenshot)

“…They came up and asked us who was fighting. We were like, ‘You got the wrong house,’” said neighbor Kelvin Williams, who captured video of the incident. “At that point, my friend Ray got a little agitated — like you’re coming over to my house, my property and you’re asking me about something I don’t know about.”

In the video, officers tell Brown he’s going to be arrested as a baby is heard crying in the background.

“Get the baby outta here! Get the baby outta here!,” one of the officers says.

“That’s my child. He can be exactly where he’s at,” Brown replies. “Give me my child. Give me my child.”

Moments later, police gather around Brown and deploy the Taser, which loudly crackles in the background. A woman, later identified as Brown’s girlfriend, appears just in the nick of time to catch the infant as her boyfriend falls to the ground. A witness cries out in disbelief, saying, “They tased him with the baby in his hands? Y’all some — Oh my god!”

Speaking to WXYZ Detroit, Brown’s girlfriend, Nichole Skidmore said she was in the street speaking to police when she heard the stun gun go off.

“I had to come over,” she said. “The taser is on this side of him, and the baby is over here. As soon as they start tasing him, the baby flew out of his hands and I had to grab him, or he would have fell.”

Police have offered a different story, however, claiming the child wasn’t in Brown’s arms when they deployed the Taser.

” … Once the man learned that he was going to be arrested he grabbed the child from the mother’s arms and held the child tightly,” Westland PD said in a statement Monday. “The man refused to release the child back to the mother who was also asking for the child back. At that time the police officers on scene felt that a close quarters direct taser deployment directly to the subject’s back was the safest option. The video shows that during the deployment the child was also in the hands of the mother.”

A physical exam by Westland EMT found the baby was not injured in the arrest, authorities said.

Per the Detroit Metro Times, Westland Police has launched its own investigation into the incident to determine if procedure was followed and the situation was handled correctly.

Brown was ultimately arrested on charges of assault, damaged property and a number of outstanding warrants.

Watch more in the clip below.


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