Grand Rapids, Michigan Police Officials Call Viral Video of Arrest a ‘Snapshot’

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Grand Rapids police have provided additional details about a “chaotic scene” from over the weekend that resulted in four arrests and the hospitalization of two stabbing victims in downtown Grand Rapids.

The police department chose to “provide context to the 10 minute chaotic scene” after an 82-second video of one arrest went viral Monday afternoon with more than 156,000 views and more than 4,900 shares on Facebook.

Police said the video didn’t provide context of the preceding assaults. 

“This cell phone video circling on social media is a reminder that a snapshot of an incident only tells a portion of the circumstances, and depending on which portion is captured, can tell a false tale of events,” reads a police department statement. 

Grand Rapids police were dispatched shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 to a report of a large fight and multiple stabbing victims in an alleyway near Stella’s Lounge, 53 Commerce Ave. SW. 

The first officers on scene located a large crowd and a 27-year-old man who was suffering from multiple stab wounds. Police estimated that there were about 100 people in the crowd, and they were “already highly agitated” due to the fight that had just taken place.

While officers were providing medical care to the victim, the crowd was closing in on them, police said. Subsequently, an emergency call was made for additional officers.

Police also located a 23-year-old man in the crowd who was covered in blood. Unsure if he was the stabbing suspect or another victim, they made contact with him. Police said the man fought with the two officers and attempted to punch both of them in the face.

The officers took him to the ground and arrested him. Officers later learned that he did have a stab wound, which required medical treatment.

Both stabbing victims were taken to an area hospital for further treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Police arrested three other individuals before they successfully cleared the scene. All three — a 21-year-old woman, a 22-year-old man and a 24-year-old man — were arrested for resisting and obstructing an officer. 

The woman was arrested for “repeatedly refusing to follow commands to back-up and eventually assaulted an officer, knocking off his body-worn camera,” according to police.

The 22-year-old man was arrested after police said he took a fighting stance and attempted to punch them. During that arrest, police said the officers’ body cameras were knocked off, and one of them was stolen by someone in the crowd.

What was captured on the viral video was the arrest of the 24-year-old man, who police said charged at officers while they were arresting the 21-year-old woman. 

In the video, a group of four police officers can be seen attempting to contain the man, who is then taken to the ground and handcuffed in an alley behind Stella’s Lounge.

Police said the man continued to resist by not following commands, tensing up, and attempting to kick officers near his feet upon being taken to the ground. The side mirror of a nearby police vehicle was broken off in the scuffle. 

With the man on the ground, but not yet handcuffed, one officer delivered at least 10 strikes with his hand. It’s unclear where the strikes landed. 

The department’s explanation of Sunday’s events said several officers used control techniques to make the arrests and control the scene. 

“I said get back dude, I said get back; I’m trying not to do anything to you,” one officer said to a man videotaping the incident with his cell phone. “I can arrest you for not listening to me. Move.”

Each use of force by officers will be documented in a report and submitted for review by the Internal Affairs Unit, as well as the training unit and to Police Chief David Rahinsky, as is department policy.

Police said witnesses and those involved in the fight outside the bar were not cooperative. The stabbings remain under investigation and police have not charged anyone with the stabbings. 

Anyone with information about the incident, or who knows the whereabouts of the missing body-worn camera, is asked by police to contact the department at 616-456-3400, or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

Attempts by MLive/The Grand Rapids Press to contact the man who posted the video to Facebook were not successful Monday afternoon.

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©2018 The Grand Rapids Press, Mich.

Visit The Grand Rapids Press, Mich. at www.mlive.com/grpress

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