A veteran Detroit police officer has been suspended without pay and placed on criminal investigation after he was caught on camera punching a female patient at a local hospital, authorities confirmed on Thursday.
The disciplinary measures were confirmed at a press conference by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who did not identify the officer by name, but noted that he is an 18-year veteran of the force, a corporal who had never incurred a “category one” use of force incident in his record. According to the Detroit Free Press, the officer was caught on video beating a naked woman in Detroit Receiving Hospital while he was assisted by two security guards and another officer, who reportedly held the woman down.
According to Fox 2 Detroit, which aired footage of the clip in question, the video was taken by a female witness who was in the Detroit Receiving Hospital’s waiting room at the time of the incident.
As related by Craig, the incident started at around 6:45 p.m., when police reportedly found the unidentified woman “completely naked” and presumably having a mental episode at the time. She was then placed in a scout car and taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, supposedly acting calm on the way to the facility. According to Craig, the woman was given “some draping” by the officers, but was not handcuffed, which he added is a violation of police protocol.
It was only upon arriving at the hospital when the woman began to act out, as she spat and cursed at hospital staff. Craig noted that she tried to bite the Detroit police officer at the center of the controversy, which prompted him to punch her repeatedly in the face and the back after she successfully bit a security guard who was trying to restrain her. The woman is currently in stable condition after receiving treatment for minor injuries, the police chief added.
Although Craig acknowledged that the video did not cover the events that took place before the Detroit police officer apparently punched the female patient, he said that he was “troubled” because it seemed as if the officer continued the physical attack even after the woman had turned her back and “was no longer a threat.”
At the time of the Detroit Free Press‘ report, authorities had just finished interviewing security guards and other staff at Detroit Receiving Hospital, who reportedly corroborated the officers’ claims that the woman was “agitated,” but did not comment on any physical violence against the patient. The investigators were also scheduled to review body camera footage and hospital security cameras to get a better idea of what actually happened.