Detroit police are investigating after a video surfaced of an officer punching a Black man in the face on Sunday morning.
Interim Detroit Police Chief James Craig expressed concerns about the video, which was filmed in Greektown and surfaced on Reddit over the weekend.
“I have some serious concerns as to how that was handled. We’ve come to expect our officers to deescalate situations. I did not see de-escalation there, I didn’t see our training there,” White said at a press conference on Monday. “If there is a violation, we are going to hold the officers accountable and we are going to be transparent about it to the community.”
The officer, seen punching a man as he backed away, has been accused of excessive force. Police have said the man was trying to intervene as cops were breaking up a fight at around 2 a.m. on Aug. 1.
In the 45-second video, several officers approach a man and one punches him in the face, knocking him backward to the ground.
“Y’all ain’t got to do that, dog!” someone yelled.
An officer pulled the man’s limp body off the ground into a sitting position.
“Oh my lord!” a bystander exclaims.
From a sitting position on the ground, the man waved his arm and appeared to be saying something to officers although his words are not audible. After officers retreated, a group of bystanders helped the man off the ground before the video ended.
“It appears in this video — the cops attempted to break up a fight — and this guy was trying to get involved,” Detroit Police Second Deputy Chief Rudy Harper told the Detroit Free Press. “He may have been trying to escalate it and may have even assaulted a cop.”
Harper declined to identify the man or the officer, but said his actions are under investigation. The officer remains on the job but is restricted to desk duty, and Harper was not aware of whether the man had received medical attention following the blow to the head. It’s possible that the man and the cop could face charges.
Another video that surfaced Monday appears to show the same man swinging at officers earlier in the morning.
“The officer does deserve due process. We have to take some time and look at everything,” said White.