A Detroit police officer has come under fire after a video emerged showing him beating a naked Black woman inside a hospital.
According to The Independent, James Craig, the police chief of the Detroit Police Department, said the officer had been “immediately suspended” (with pay) after the department received a video of the encounter.
The officer in the clip has not been identified but Craig said at a press conference he had been with the department for 18 years. The force has since launched an internal investigation into the matter.
The graphic video shows an officer repeatedly punching a woman, who was not clothed, inside of Detroit Receiving Hospital. According to the report, the unidentified woman who filmed the encounter explained to Fox that the victim appeared to be mentally unstable.
“He was wrong, I know that,” she said. “And I think he needs his badge taken – he needs to be dealt with. He beat the hell out of her.”
A spokesperson for the Detroit Police Department could not confirm the status of the woman’s mental health but told The Independent that she had been taken to a crisis center within the hospital for evaluation.
During the press conference, Craig did not confirm whether police officers knew the woman had a mental illness. He said, however, she was transported to the hospital after someone called the police about a “nude” person, which he said was a “clue” that “something’s not right”.
He previously noted that the department handles “roughly 500 calls a month on average [about] a person suffering from mental illness…” He added, “We generally deal with these situations very well.” But noted the widely-shared video was “very troubling.”
Detroit police reportedly gave the woman a robe and transported her to the hospital. Craig said what he found most concerning was that the responding officers did not handcuff the woman, as taught in the department’s safety trainings, according to the report.
“Even though we are very early in this investigation, one of the concerns that I have is the fact that the officers did not handcuff this mentally ill person.”