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GRPD Chief addresses video of the controversial arrest

Posted at 6:23 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 18:23:05-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A large police presence at a Mcdonalds' upset employees when a man was arrested there. Videos of the incident have been viewed thousands of times.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne says the videos on social media don't tell the full story. Payne says he welcomes people to keep a watchful eye over the department. But there is more than meets the eye to this situation.

“I want to make sure we’re doing things correctly. I want people to question. But do it responsibly,” Payne said.

The police's version of events provides insight, Payne hopes.

Payne says on September 3rd, officers got a call to a business just a short ways away from the McDonalds for a burglary in progress.

“It’s been timed out as a two-minute walk,” Payne said.

The caller, the owner of the business, reported to police they saw a teal-colored backpack at the spot where they believed someone tripped their alarm, trying to break in.

The caller walked back around to the other side of the building, and when they got back to the front, the backpack was gone. That's when they called the police.

“These officers were arriving at either a burglary in progress or one that had just occurred,” Payne said.

Payne explains the large police presence was to set up a perimeter and search the property that had been broken into. That presence shifted from the robbery scene when a crowd formed around the arrest at the McDonalds.

Payne says they stopped the suspect because he had a similar teal-colored backpack.

“I’m not saying this person is responsible. But it lead to reasonable suspicion that we needed to talk to him,” Payne said.

Payne says the suspect did not cooperate with law enforcement. Officers hung back and tried to deescalate the situation by talking to the suspect, and ultimately put them in custody.

Claims in the viral video are untrue, according to Payne. McDonalds' survellience video given to police show the suspect left and was not at the McDonalds for "two hours" as claimed in the video.

Payne says on the recording, the suspect shows up moments before police arrive at the burglary scene.

“We will continue to do our job. I think those officers out there that day were attempting to do their jobs that day," Payne said.

GRPD is conducting an internal affairs investigation into the arrest and expects to release body camera video by Monday.