GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An officer shot and killed a man Monday morning on the city’s southeast side, police say.
Around 8:10 a.m., an officer pulled over a vehicle near Nelson Avenue SE and Griggs Street SE. Police say the driver fled from the vehicle but was apprehended by the officer.
GRPD says they still don’t know if the driver was armed, or what lead to the initial traffic stop, but after running the license plate, the officer discovered it didn’t match the car, Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom said.
It is unclear if the vehicle was stolen.
Winstrom said the driver got out of the car and ran away because he was going to be taken into custody. When the officer caught up to him, they fought.
“It was kind of a wrestling match. A Taser was used. The Taser didn’t work,” said a witness who didn’t want to be identified.
The witness said he tried to calm the driver down.
“I told him, ‘Just stay down man. Please just stay down. Don’t make it worse man, and it will be OK,'” the witness said.
But the driver continued to struggle with the officer.
That “lengthy fight” ended with the officer opening fire and killing the man, Winstrom said.
The name of the man who was killed was not released Monday, but authorities said he was about 26 years old and he was Black. It is unknown whether he was armed.
“During the struggle, the officer lost his body camera,” Winstrom said. “We can see that the camera is still on scene and still activated. So, we’re anxious to recover that camera and review that video.”
During an afternoon press conference, Winstrom explained that body cameras are attached to officers either with a metal plate inside their shirt, a vest carrier or by a hook. It’s unclear how the officer’s camera was attached.
“They’re fairly secure if you run, but if you’re in a fight with an individual, it’s not that difficult to dislodge,” he said.
Winstrom said he intends to release the body camera footage “sometime next week.”
“…That gives us enough time to allow the Michigan State Police to conduct a fair investigation without that information being in the public, and it will give me a chance to reach out to the family, who I think has the right to see the video before the rest of the public,” Winstrom said.
The officer, who is white, was injured. Police initially said he was taken to the hospital but later clarified that he was treated on the scene.
The officer’s name was also not released Monday. Winstrom said he has been with the department for about seven years.
A second person was in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop and shooting. Winstrom said police are interviewing that person, along with other witnesses.
MSP is handling the investigation, which is standard protocol.
“Once that investigation is concluded, that investigation will be provided to the police chief and the internal affairs division of the police department. The Office of Oversight and Public Accountability will monitor and audit that investigation and then provide a report regarding it,” Brandon Davis, director of Oversight and Public Accountability, said, adding that other phases will take place afterward.
City leaders are asking the public to trust the process.
“I understand how emotional this can be, and recognize the frustrations that many in our community may feel,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “I personally ask everyone in our community to respect the process, and allow the investigators to do their work before reaching any conclusions.”
If anyone has any additional information or video, they are encouraged to contact Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
—News 8’s Meghan Bunchman and Joe LaFurgey contributed to this report.