UPDATED: 7:18 a.m. ET, May 28 —
Police in suburban Detroit have opened an investigation into the brutal beating of an unarmed Black woman by a white officer. Sha’Teina Grady El and her husband were accused of not leaving the crime scene of a shooting, prompting an unidentified police officer to grab her and repeatedly punch her in the face before tackling her to the ground in Ypsilanti Township around midnight on Tuesday.
The episode was recorded on video by a witness.
“The Sheriff’s Office is aware of and is investigating the use of force applied in an arrest that took place in the Appleridge community early this morning,” Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton, who is Black, said in a news release. “As with any situation where a deputy uses force, a full and thorough review will be completed. We are committed to sharing all the relevant factual information with the public as it becomes available. Below please find the specific steps you may expect from the Sheriff’s Office in this matter along with an overview of the initial call for service.”
A police officer was recorded on video beating an unarmed Black woman who appeared to be nonviolent until she was brutally accosted without justifiable provocation during the encounter Tuesday night in Michigan.
The Detroit News identified the victim as Sha’Teina Grady El, who, along with her husband, allegedly refused to leave the scene of a shooting in Ypsilanti Township, a suburb of Detroit. That’s when the unidentified white officer could be seen on the video walking up to her and swiping at her before lifting her off her feet, struggling with her and then unleashing a series of vicious punches to her head and face area. A bystander recorded the encounter and posted it to social media.
The police violence didn’t stop there as other officers joined the cop beating Sha’Teina Grady El and tackled her to the ground while another officer shot a Taser gun at her husband, Dan Grady El. The camera pans back over to the officer on top of Sha’Teina Grady El while he struggled to handcuff her. All the while bystanders could be heard cursing at the cops for their apparent police brutality.
Watch the disturbing video below.
The unfortunate episode sparked a protest at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, where Sheriff Jerry Clayton couldn’t defend his officer’s violence.
“There is absolutely no doubt, and no argument from me, that the images in the video are disturbing,” Clayton said in announcing that both responding officer, including the one who threw punches, had been placed on administrative leave. “It warrants a complete investigation.”
Sha’Teina Grady El and her husband Dan Grady El were both reportedly arrested for not dispersing from the scene of a shooting following an argument. That shooting left one person with non-life-threatening injuries.
It was the latest video of a high-profile instance of police violence against an unarmed Black person. Just two states away in Minnesota one day earlier, a now-fired Minneapolis police officer was recorded by a bystander as he applied pressure with his knees to the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who was handcuffed and begged for mercy as he repeatedly exclaimed that he could not breathe. That cop, Derek Chauvin, was later fired along with three other police officers who responded to an allegation of forgery supposedly committed by Floyd. Forgery is notably a crime that is not punishable by death.
A protest against Floyd’s death in police custody was unfolding as Sha’Teina Grady El was being beaten and arrested by the still-unidentified Washtenaw County Sheriff’s police officer who apparently decided against using any of his law enforcement training to arrest the unarmed and nonviolent woman. In Minneapolis, the police responded in part to the protest with more violence by macing protesters, using tear gas and firing rubber bullets at them.
There were no reports of police violence at the small protest outside of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, but the tension was palpable, according to one of the protest organizers.
“We cannot continue to allow this,” Trische’ Duckworth of the nonprofit group Survivors Speak said Tuesday night.
The police response in Ypsilanti Township stood in stark contrast to when armed anti-lockdown protesters stormed the Michigan statehouse to demand the state reopen from coronavirus-prompted closures. In those instances, angry protesters not wearing any personal protective equipment like masks yelling directly into the faces of police officers, who stood by idly and didn’t react with any hint of the same violence displayed by the officer who relentlessly punched Sha’Teina Grady El and slammed her to the ground.
This is America.