GRPD: Excessive force was not used in incident

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some call it excessive force, but the Grand Rapids Police Department says they were following protocol in an incident earlier this month.

It took place at the intersection of South Division Avenue and Delaware Street SE on May 20. That’s when police say they found 28-year-old Kavosaye Phillips, and the driver asleep in the vehicle.

The dashboard and body camera video were released Saturday, showing the interaction. In Phillips’ mugshot, he has multiple injuries on his face.

“What I can say is that they followed our policies and procedure in the training. There was no excessive force,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne.

Police say after Phillips and the driver woke up their car at the intersection, they saw that Phillips had a handgun. That’s when they say he resisted arrest, so they used force during a tussle on the sidewalk.

The booking photo of Kavosaye Phillips after an incident on May 20, 2020.
The booking photo of Kavosaye Phillips after an incident on May 20, 2020.

Some community members think they used too much.

“By the pictures, it looks like some unnecessary force was used. I’d like to see what the police officers look like,” said Synia Jordan.

Payne says they offered medical treatment to Phillips, but he refused. He also says marijuana and cocaine were found during the investigation and the driver also had a handgun. Both guns were illegal.

“As concerning and as unfortunate as the injuries are to the passenger in this incident, my concern is the amount of guns out there on the street,” said Payne.

At the end of the day, Jordan says her community isn’t going to stop making their voices heard.

“We’re asking for change and we’d like to see it happen now,” said Jordan.

Payne says with all the tensions surrounding law enforcement and the black community, he wants to make sure they’re being transparent.

Both Phillips and the driver are in jail facing multiple charges, including carrying a concealed weapon and being a felon in possession of firearms.

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