Dashcam and body camera capture citizens helping officer subdue suspect

Posted at 4:27 PM, Mar 21, 2016

SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. - Two citizens last week responded to an officer's call for help. Sgt. Jamie Edwards was attempting to subdue a suspect when bystanders courageously jumped in to help the officer control the situation. All of it was caught on the officer's body and dash cameras.

On March 15,  Edwards spotted a car driving 45 miles per hour in 25mph zone. He pulled over  19-year-old Alec McLaughlin, of Delton, near the intersection of VW Avenue and 16th Street. During the routine traffic stop, Edwards discovered McLaughlin had a warrant for his arrest for operating while intoxicated.  Edwards prepared to arrest him.

"Everything seems fine at that point," said Schoolcraft Police Chief Bryan Campbell. "The officer takes the driver to the back of the car and  begins to handcuff him and that's when he began to struggle."

McLaughlin tries to run away but Edwards fought back, Campbell said. They fell to the ground with Edwards still trying to hold him.  That's when a passing bicyclist and another driver stopped to help out.  Edwards shouts for their help.

The bicyclist helped Edwards pin McLaughlin to the ground while the driver called 9-1-1.

"It's the fight or flight syndrome," said Campbell. "Although the actual charge  was not that serious,  he chose to fight and on cases like that people are literally fighting for their life. He’s trying to get away. So without question the officer’s appreciative of the fact these individuals came to help him."

Campbell said even though Edwards was grateful for the assistance, he was thinking of their safety too.

"It's kind of a catch-22 because we worry about you know the private, private citizens being injured but you know you see so much of people videotaping interactions with the police and with individuals," said Campbell. "When it becomes physical the officer needs help."

Campbell said he hopes that other citizens will help police officers when they need it. Not everyone situation calls for help but when an officer says the word its okay to jump in.

"In most cases, the officer if he sees someone, he’s going to ask for help," said Campbell. "He’s not going to have a person come over if the individual the officer his dealing with could be armed. I think that’s a pretty good heads up for the individual is if the officer summons you to come over then that would be the time to step in."

McLaughlin was jailed and is expected to return to court April 18 for a settlement conference.