Michelle Selbee (November 1, 2010).
Updated: Sunday, 07 Nov 2010, 9:26 AM EST
Published : Saturday, 06 Nov 2010, 6:36 PM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Two Kalamazoo County sheriff's deputies pulled a female bystander from her car by her hair, mistakenly thinking she was driving the vehicle being pursued by law enforcement, according to a newspaper's review of audio and video from the incident.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reported Saturday the unidentified deputies forced Michelle Selbee of Scotts from her car Oct. 29, about 25 seconds after their vehicle was passed and was fired upon from a car that was being pursued by other officers.
The Kalamazoo County sheriff's office released the video and audio of the incident Friday following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Gazette.
Selbee and her neighbor told the newspaper that Selbee was slammed face down into a gravel driveway before the deputies realized their mistake and sped off.
Selbee's neighbor, Steve Howes, said he saw the incident from inside his house and was "horrified" by the amount of force used by the deputy. He said he could see Selbee's hands on the steering wheel.
"It happened so fast. It was brutal," he said. "He (the deputy) yanked open the door, grabbed her by the hair, not the arm."
When the deputies realized they had the wrong vehicle, the video shows, they ran to their car and sped away. Selbee was still on the ground, Howes said.
"They left her laying there like a dog," Howes said. The position of the deputies' dashboard camera does not give a clear view of Selbee, but she could be heard pleading with the officers.
Sheriff Richard Fuller has said the deputies mistakenly thought Selbee was one of the suspects being pursued. He said the two have been placed on leave. Their names have not been released.
Selbee told the Gazette that Fuller came to her house Oct. 30, told her not to speak to anyone and to come to the office Monday to discuss the incident.
Selbee said she did not go to the office. Selbee, who is an unemployed single mother with no insurance, said no one has offered to pay her medical bills, contrary to other news reports.
Selbee has hired attorney Ven Johnson, a partner in the Southfield law firm of litigator Geoffrey Fieger. Johnson called the actions of the deputies "criminal."
The deputies involved and other officers at the time were after a car carrying a suspect wanted in connection with several home invasions. The sheriff's office has said someone in the car fired several shots during the high-speed, daytime chase.
The Gazette reported the deputies' dashboard camera showed that they appeared to lose sight of the suspect vehicle before they came upon Selbee. The video does not clearly show Selbee being pulled from her car, but the audio picks up one deputy ordering the other to "take her down."
Selbee said she was headed to a bank when she heard gunshots, saw the chase and backed up into a neighbor's driveway.
24 Hour News 8 spoke with Selbee on Monday . She continues to recover from injuries to her ribs and back, she said.