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Attorney alleges excessive use of force in GRPD arrest of Kavosaye Phillips

Posted at 3:28 PM, May 29, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department is facing allegations of excessive use of force after the arrest of 28-year-old Kavosaye Phillips.

The situation starts at Delaware and Division on Grand Rapids' south east side on May 20th.

There, police say they were responding to a call of a car stopped in the roadway. GRPD dispatch advised the driver may have been passed out behind the wheel.

What happens next, according to Phillips' attorney is unclear.

"Prior to that arrest, Mr. Phillips was sleeping in a vehicle. Almost immediately upon being taken out of the cop car, he was slammed to the ground and lost consciousness, and so we don’t have a lot of the details as far as that arrest,” Kavosaye Phillips' attorney Lane Zabawa said

“All I can really speak up on is how my baby face look. That’s what I seen, and that kind of broke me down,” Kavosaye's mother, Wanda Mcintosh said.

Police say they found two guns and drugs in the car. One of the guns was on Phillips, who they say also resisted arrest. A statement from Grand Rapids Police Chief Payne says they don't believe unnecessary force was used. Phillips' mother disagrees.

“This is not right. It’s not right for black, white, Hispanic, whatever. Police have protocols. They have things that they put in place to protect us. When you scared to call them, it’s a problem,” Mcintosh said.

Phillips' attorney says they want to know why Kavosaye sustained these injuries, saying they have not been able to review body camera footage sent to them by the Kent County Prosecutors office due to technical difficulties opening the file.

“Police brutality is a stain on our country. To see it hit this close to home in our city, in Grand Rapids, it’s a sad day,” Zabawa said.

Phillips' mom says she's speaking up because this type of thing should not happen.

“I just cried. No parent should see they son face looking like this. I’m quite sure there’s other things they could have done. It looks like they dragged my son. Skid my son. You busted his teeth. I mean…you have handcuffs. I’m wondering. I want to see what happened myself. This is not necessary. For no one to be treated like that.” Mcintosh said.

Currently Phillips is in custody. At the time of his arrest May 20 he was out on federal parole. A subsequent warrant was issued.

“We had an understanding with the U.S. Marshall's that he was going to turn himself in on Monday. The reason we wanted that time was so he could receive medical treatment on Monday,” Zabawa said.

Grand Rapids Police arrested Phillips Thursday, according to his attorney.

For Kavosaye's mother, it's a lot to take in.

“This can be anybody son, not just mine,” Mcintosh said.

His attorney says the use of force in the arrest broke his teeth and he may have a broken hand. Kavosaye's mother says she wants answers and change.

"I don’t really have anything against the police department. Am I scared of them? Yeah. Because I’m talking for my son.” Mcintosh said.

“At least I get to see my child. Some people didn’t get that opportunity. We have to stop it.”

Grand Rapids Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into Phillips' arrest and anticipate the conclusion of that investigation on Monday. Kavosaye's attorney has obtained the body camera footage, but is still attempting to open and review the file.