2 Michigan officers on leave after video shows officer kicking Black man in head during arrest

Mar 14, 2024, 12:28 PM | Updated: 2:26 pm

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Two suburban Detroit police officers are under investigation after police video of officers arresting a Black man accused of domestic violence shows one officer kicking him in the head during a chaotic arrest the man’s attorney calls “a gang-style beating.”

The Sterling Heights Police Department said two officers have been placed on administrative leave while the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office investigates the Feb. 25 arrest of Garry Young, 36.

The Sterling Heights man was accused of kneeing a woman in the face and choking a youth, according to the mix of body camera and dash camera video that begins with officers arriving at a residence and speaking to the alleged victims in the city about 23 miles (37 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Sterling Heights police said Wednesday that it released the edited, nearly nine-minute-long footage “in the spirit of transparency.”

“We want to be as transparent as possible during this entire process,” Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski said. “Not only what the actions of the suspect, but the actions of our officers. Everyone has to be accountable, everybody. And that accountability starts with this independent investigation.”

The police video jumps from officers speaking to people at the residence to footage of officers approaching Young as he is in a vehicle after “attempting to return to the home,” a caption in the video states.

Young is seen repeatedly failing to comply with officers’ demands that he place his hands outside the vehicle’s partially open window and exit the vehicle before he drives away, with officers in pursuit.

Police captions in the video state that the pursuit reached speeds of 90 mph (145 kilometers per hour) and traversed 13 miles (21 kilometers) and that Young ran six red lights and swerved into oncoming traffic while “highly intoxicated” and with a flat tire. He also is accused of attempting to run over an officer, police said.

Young’s vehicle crashed along a street and Interstate 94, according to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

Young is seen in the expletive-filled footage leaving the vehicle’s passenger side before officers with Taser weapons drawn and a police dog swarm him and the dog repeatedly bites him as he is on the ground.

Young can be heard shouting as he is struck repeatedly, sometimes in the head, by officers who use a Taser on him after telling him several times to put his hands behind is back so he can be handcuffed.

At one point, Young is seen kicking an officer in the head, prompting another officer to tell Young: “You just (expletive) kicked him in the head.” Officers are later seen hitting Young in the head before one officer kicks him in the head shortly before he is handcuffed.

Police said Young had a blood alcohol level twice the legal driving limit and that he sustained “minor injuries during the arrest.”

Young’s attorney, Arnold Reed, said he suffered bruises to his head, neck and back and “entire body.” He said he and his client are considering legal action against police.

Reed said the officers used excessive force against Young when they should be well acquainted with dealing with suspects who refuse to comply with their orders.

“There are going to be people who don’t do what you tell them to do when you want them to do it or how you want them to do it. It doesn’t justify what we saw on that tape. … It looked like Roman gladiators in the Coliseum killing prey, gang-style,” Reed told The Associated Press.

“There’s a difference between apprehension of somebody and using excessive force. And what you see in that video is well beyond the use of excessive force. That was a gang-style beating. That’s exactly what it was, and these officers need to be dealt with to the full extent of the law,” he added.

In addition to domestic violence charges, Young, who is out on bond, faces charges of fleeing police; assaulting/resisting police; and operating with his license suspended, second offense, police said. The next court hearing in the criminal case is scheduled for April 11.

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2 Michigan officers on leave after video shows officer kicking Black man in head during arrest