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GRPD chief releases statement after video of officers arresting Black man goes viral

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne file photo
Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 16:32:28-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Chief Eric Payne with the Grand Rapids Police Department has released a statement in response to an arrest that took place in a parking lot off of 28th Street last week.

The arrest went viral, depicting a man lying on the ground while surrounded by Grand Rapids police and a K-9.

SEE MORE: Video of GRPD arrest of Black man goes viral

Chief Payne explains a security alarm was triggered at a 29th Street business, where an unattended backpack was discovered at the loading dock. He says the man who was arrested sported a backpack that matched the description of the one at the crime scene.

Chief Payne goes on to say that the man was noncompliant and made suicidal comments, adding additional officers were called in as the subject continued to resist de-escalation attempts.

Dash cams and body cams of the incident have been collected, Chief Payne writes, concluding his statement by saying the subject was charged for resisting arrest.

Chief Eric Payne’s full statement reads:

"I want to take this opportunity to provide the community with some additional context regarding a high-profile arrest that took place last Friday outside a McDonald’s. I am limited in what I can share while this incident is under investigation but here are the facts as we currently understand them.

A security alarm was triggered at business in the 2700 block of 29th Street. The owners went to check on the business and saw a window in the loading dock door had been removed and a chair placed underneath the opening. There was also a distinctive unattended backpack on the loading dock. They went to check the front of the building while calling the police. Officers were dispatched to the location at 6:43 pm. When the owners retuned to the loading dock area a few minutes later, the backpack was gone.

Two officers who were responding to the break-in initiated verbal contact with the individual in the McDonald’s parking lot because the backpack he was wearing fit the description given by the owners, and he was in close proximity to the location and timing of the break-in.

Breaking and entering is a felony. Officers are trained to conduct high-risk stops in felony situations. The first priority in a high-risk stop is to secure the scene to protect the safety of the subject, the officers, and any bystanders. Officers followed procedures for a high-risk stop, including keeping space between themselves and the subject, using de-escalation techniques to encourage cooperation, and avoiding physical contact while dialogue is on-going. The suspect did not comply with lawfully given orders and made remarks about being suicidal.

Officers talked to the suspect for several minutes in an attempt to de-escalate the situation and secure the scene. Additional units that were headed to the break-in location, including the K-9 team that would start a track from the building, were redirected to the McDonald’s lot due to the subject’s resistance and the crowd. Officers from a neighboring jurisdiction also responded to back up GRPD officers, which often occurs in high-risk situations that are near jurisdictional boundaries.

A subsequent review of video obtained from McDonald’s indicated the suspect arrived approximately 20 minutes before officers. This conflicts with witness statements that the individual was on-site for several hours.

Body-worn and dash-board camera footage has been collected and preserved per department regulations.

At this time, the individual has been charged with resisting arrest and the investigation into the breaking and entering is continuing."

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