Four arrested after fight; GRPD investigating use of force in arrest

Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 26, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Police say four people were arrested Monday night after a fight in southeast Grand Rapids and police are investigating another involvement of force by an arresting officer.

The incident started at about 8:45 p.m. Monday, according to police. Officers were called to the 100 block of LaBelle Street SE on reports of five or six people involved in a fight and windows being broken at a home.

When police arrived, the person who called told officers that the suspects had driven away in a black Ford Explorer.

Police found the vehicle and pulled it over. They say they made contact with the people in the Explorer and found that one passenger had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

That person then became uncooperative and physically resisted the officer, leading to a struggle that brought the officer and suspect to the ground, police say.

Interim Police Chief David Kiddle said the individual then asked for help getting away from the officer and the other occupants in the vehicle attempted to interfere with the arrest.

The officer reported the suspect was grabbing at his face and duty belt to get the items from it. He also said the individual scratched and squeezed his neck face and throat before biting his arm.

Additional officers eventually arrived at the scene, arresting two people for outstanding warrants and four in total for resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Nearby residents recorded the arrest on their cell phones and have shared the video on social media.

Those videos show the suspect on the ground being kicked by responding officers.

Latosa Williams, who was in the vehicle during the incident, says that was excessive force. However, Kiddle says the technique is standard.

“They were aiming for the common peroneal (nerve) which is a distraction and pain technique to try to get the individual under control,” he said. “At that time, he was still actively resisting the officer who was trying to lay on top of him until additional officers could arrive.

“At the same time, he’s dealing with four additional people that have bailed out of the vehicle and are now forcing themselves upon the officer, and his partner was on the ground with the suspect. It’s a trained technique.”

Kiddle says the videos he has seen only show a snippet of the altercation that occurred over several minutes before people began recording.

“The officers were on the scene with this vehicle for about 15 minutes before the use of force even occurred,” he said. “They were trying to figure out exactly what had happened, from the incident they originally called on, which was a fight and the breaking of windows.”

The case is being reviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit because of the use of force, which is standard protocol.

Police say that dash camera and body camera video will be released when it becomes available.