Several Detroit police officers under investigation after Greektown punch as new video emerges

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 02, 2021

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Interim Detroit Police Chief James White says several officers are under investigation after cell phone videos recorded in Greektown showed one officer shove a man to the ground. He then gets up and a second officer punched him and he hits the ground hard.

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The videos were recorded by Traquan Shields who shared them with 7 Action News. He says the confrontations happened after people left a club closing at 2:30 yesterday morning.

New video also shows what happened minutes before. A man in an orange mask starts shoving police. Several officers move in, there’s punching and officers can be seen using their knees.

The next video shows a man in a blue and orange Detroit Tigers shirt try to intervene, but he’s stopped by another man wearing a red shirt.

Then the third video, that man in the Tigers shirt is shoved one by an officer to the ground, gets up and is punched hard, and hits the ground hard.

Interim Police Chief James White said Monday afternoon, “I dd not see de-escalation there. I did not see our training there.”

The man who hits the ground is raised up by police. But then they leave and the man is helped away by citizens. He was not arrested. That’s key in this ongoing investigation.

The procedures are if the man had assaulted police in any way, he would be arrested.

Interim Chief White also said, “I see what you see that it appears to be an unprovoked attack or unprovoked use of force. Not an attack, an unprovoked use of force.”

The Chief says the investigation will look at bodycam videos and surveillance videos.

Traquan Shields shot the cell phone videos and tells 7 Action News he’s been in Greektown on the weekends several times this summer and he started recording yesterday because he sensed the incident was going to grow.

“I tried to make sure that I was able to capture everything so that it could be seen. Even if that meant I was going to be caught trampled down, I just wanted to make sure the camera stayed on the situation of bad cops being bad cops,” Shields said.

Willie Bell is on the Board of Police Commissioners who vote on administrative action against police officers.

Bell tells 7 Action News, the video is “Very disturbing, severe force very likely not necessary.”

His biggest concern is the man hitting his head after being punched.

“The man was struck and there was no rendering of aide after. He could have a severe head injury after hitting that pavement that cement,” Bell said.

The Interim Chief says the officers will be given due process and a report will go to the Wayne County Prosecutor. It could turn into criminal charges for the police if this was unprovoked police brutality.

We are told the officer who threw the punch is on desk duty. The other officers remain on the job. No officers have been suspended during the investigation, for now.