A video of an African American woman being punched and pummeled by police in Michigan has drawn outrage as a climate of negative tensions between the Black community and law enforcement has grown nationwide after several similar incidents.
In the video, a Washtenaw County sheriff's deputy order Sha’Teina Grady El and her husband, Dan Grady El away from the scene of a potential shooting in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, according to local news website MLive.com.
When officers tried to physically remove the couple from the scene, a confrontation ensued in which one of the deputies lifted Sha’Teina Grady El from the ground, constricted and punched her. The video shows him slamming her to the ground and then tasing Dan Grady El, and finally, arresting them both.
Officers had been called to a shots fired report prior to the incident taking place. Deputies created a perimeter to keep onlookers away. Police said everyone, except the Grady Els, complied with the order.
According to MLive, resident Tovah Taylor confirmed that the couple had asked why officers were in the neighborhood, but it’s the police that said they were “obstructing” the deputies from creating the perimeter causing the situation to escalate.
The Grady Els have a different story saying that they were only trying to film the police forming a perimeter near their daughter Jaquisy Diggins’ home and that nothing was explained to them about a potential shooting in the area.
“We were just trying to videotape to make sure nothing happened outside my daughter’s house, which had kids in the area," Dan Grady El told MLive.com. “That was our whole mission.” He has since been released from county jail as no charges were filed against him.
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton says he was alarmed by the incident.
“There is absolutely no doubt, and no argument from me, that the images in the video are disturbing,” he said. “It warrants a complete investigation.
“We are finders of facts,” Clayton continued, vowing an internal investigation. “We want to seek the truth, find the facts and provide all the context. What was going on, what was the specific resistant behavior, what was the officers attempts at use of force. We’re going to respond to that.”
According to MLive, Sha’Teina Grady El has since been transferred to the Taylor Police Department on an outstanding warrant. In protest of the couples' initial arrest and Sha’Teina’s detainment, nearly 100 people blocked traffic in front of the sheriff’s department headquarters on Wednesday, (May 27) angered by what appears to be an excessive use of force on the part of this deputy, who remains unnamed. He has now been placed on administrative leave with pay, according to sheriff’s office union requirements.
This latest incident follows several this week alone in which conflicts involving racial profiling or police violence have affected African Americans. In Minneapolis, demonstrations turned violent in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. Four officers have been fired over the incident in which former officer Derek Chauvin was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness and ultimately died.