A Michigan state trooper is facing charges for punching a Black man in the chest after reportedly accosting him for not walking on the sidewalk.
The incident captured on body-camera video shows Trooper Paul E. Arrowood repeatedly punching Michael D. Wilson, 28, while he screamed for help on a Saginaw, Michigan, roadway in September 2022. Arrowood wrote in a police report that Wilson was resisting arrest.
Arrowood, 43, was suspended 20 days after the Sept. 4 beating. An MSP investigation yielded a felony charge of misconduct in office and a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery for the trooper on March 3.
Video shows the trooper and his partner approaching Wilson as he walking on a street where a sidewalk was available.
“I ain’t even doing nothing,” Wilson says as the two troopers grabbed him from the side of the street.
Arrowood slams him to the ground after he refuses to put his hands behind his back.
Once Wilson is on the ground, both of the troopers try to restrain him, but the body camera is obstructed in the process.
“Roll over, man,” one of the troopers says.
“Help! Help! Help!” Wilson yells as the troopers tussle with him on the ground, trying to restrain his hands. “I can get my hands behind my back, Bro.”
“Roll the f——k over,” says Arrowood as he punches Wilson repeatedly in the chest.
“Help! Help! Help! He whupping my a**,” Wilson screams.
Another trooper also threatens to use his Taser on Wilson before Arrowood lambastes him with blows again.
“You a b——ch,” Arrowood says.
The trooper wrote in the incident report that he told Wilson to “stop” walking on the roadway, and Wilson offered to get on the sidewalk, which Arrowood said was “active resistance.” He admitted to striking the man at least 13 times with closed fists as a form of “physical control,” the report shows.
“Due to the fact that (Wilson) was attempting to pull his hands away from Troopers and place his hands under his body, and the fact that I did not know if (Wilson) was armed, I stuck (Wilson) with my closed fists,” Arrowood wrote.
Director of the MSP Col. Joe Gasper condemned the trooper’s actions in a press release announcing the charges on Friday.
“The actions of Tpr. Paul Arrowood fall outside of MSP policy and procedure and they constitute an unwarranted use of force,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “The members of the Michigan State Police are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect, and we will tolerate no less. When we fall short of this standard, we will hold our members accountable.”
Wilson was treated by an ambulance on the scene and was charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing police. The charges were later dropped, but he was hit with similar charges for another incident in November with Saginaw police.
“I’m glad to see the system is working and police are in fact policing one of their own when they do something wrong and act inappropriately,” Wilson’s attorney, Joseph A. Albosta told MLive. “I’m glad to see the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office following through with the investigation and eventually bringing charges. I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
Arrowood reportedly has a history of misconduct, according to MLive.
In 2020, MSP found that he violated policy after pulling his weapon on a 27-year-old Black man who had a legally owned gun and detaining him in July. The Black motorist filed a racial discrimination complaint, and Arrowood was disciplined. However, agency officials did not disclose the punishment the trooper received, which is protected under law.
Arrowood now faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the felony charge. He could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for the misdemeanor charge. His attorney entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf on March 3. He was booked and fingerprinted, but he did not spend time in jail.
The judge set a $7,500 personal recognizance bond for the trooper, and he must return to court on March 21 for a preliminary hearing.
“Whether or not a criminal charge is issued, our members will be held accountable for violations of department policy,” Gasper said. “Policy violations are investigated thoroughly and acted upon in a manner consistent with labor law and collective bargaining agreements,” he added.