GRPD investigates officer use of force during arrests

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Interim Chief David Kiddle is standing behind the actions of his officers who used force during a traffic stop Monday night.

The incident started around 8:45 p.m. Monday when police say they were called about a group of people fighting and breaking the windows of a home in the 100 block of LaBelle Street SE, located between Division and Jefferson avenues.

As officers pulled up to the scene, they say the caller told them the suspects drove off in a black Ford Explorer, which officers pulled over nearby.

During the traffic stop, officers say they determined one of the men in the car had a warrant out for his arrest. Officers say when they informed the suspect, he became “uncooperative and a struggle ensued.”

Witness video shows an officer kicking someone on the ground twice and another officer punching the same person at least once. Kiddle says that video shows only a few seconds of an encounter that lasted about 15 minutes.

“Those (kicks from the officer) are strikes to an actual area. It is a distraction and pain technique to try and get him under control at that time he was still actively resisting the officer who was trying to lay on top of him. At the same time, he was dealing with four additional people who had bailed out of the vehicle and are now forcing themselves upon the officer, and his partner was on the ground with the suspect,” explained Kiddle.

Kiddle said the suspect scratched at the officer’s face and neck and delivered a bite that went through layers of clothing, penetrating the flesh of an officer who had to go to the hospital for treatment.

The chief said the suspect was also going after the officer’s belt, which held his gun.

GRPD said officers called in backup because of the “unsafe situation.”

Police say two people in the SUV were eventually arrested for outstanding warrants and four others were charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Following protocol, the GRPD says its internal affairs unit will review the incident and release dashcam and officer body camera video of the incident.

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