(TMU) – A suburban neighborhood in Warren, Michigan, is reeling after shocking video of the brutal arrest of a Black delivery driver working for Amazon who parked improperly on the street went viral.
According to FOX 2 Detroit, witnesses say that the Amazon driver had just barely delivered a package to local resident Diana Gouim before a white police officer roughly tackled the worker.
Neighbor Geri Cheatham, who witnessed the altercation, was completely confused by what she saw, especially after the officer then called for backup.
“It was ridiculous for one little kid that was the size of me,” Cheatham said. “And he was so polite to my neighbor, he offered to put it on the chair for her because it was heavy.”
Amondeuz Graham was on his way to get some gardening supplies when he also saw the disturbing events. Graham told ClickOnDetroit:
“One of the ladies who lived at the residence came out and tried to explain to the cop, ‘that’s my friend’s house, he was just delivering a package’, like ‘I don’t what’s going on here, he’s just delivering a package.’”
Jim Michaels, who ordered the package being delivered, said that neighbors immediately began to plea with the officer to convince him that the driver hadn’t done anything wrong – upon which the officer responded that the suspect had apparently committed a minor parking infraction.
Michaels explained: “We, several of the neighbors, spoke with the officer saying the kid hasn’t done anything and the cop was like well, ‘He was parked the wrong way.’”
“He was aggressive taking him down to the ground. It was so ridiculous over a traffic offense” says Jim Michaels, who ordered the package.The Warren police officer is on paid leave after his arrest of an Amazon delivery driver went viral. Darren Cunninghamhttps://bit.ly/2MM3tkw
Posted by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 on Wednesday, June 10, 2020
In the video, you can see that the Amazon truck was parked the wrong way – as is common for delivery workers and couriers who often must make a large number of drop-offs per day – yet it remains unclear if that is what sparked the officer’s ire.
“[The delivery driver] was scared. He was scared. I don’t blame him. It could have gotten out of control totally,” Cheatham said.
The Amazon driver was eventually hauled off by the officers.
However, video of the altercation quickly spread on social media – forcing the mayor himself to weigh in and demand that the offending officer be fired immediately.
In an impassioned post to Facebook, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts wrote:
“There was an outrageous and unacceptable physical altercation with a Warren police officer involving a young African American delivery man for Amazon to a Warren home today. I have spoken with Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer and have ordered that this officer be terminated immediately. I have zero tolerance for this disgusting act against an innocent person. If the last two weeks have brought up anything, it is that bad behavior by ANY police officer will not be tolerated. And I’m calling on the Macomb County Prosecutor to look into this situation to see if either charges should be brought against this individual and the U.S. attorney if this was a civil rights violation. The policy of the warren police department and the training provided to every officer is to deescalate every situation. This officer did not follow policy or his training and is not fit to serve the citizens in Warren. BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
However, on the request of Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, Mayor Fouts removed the message on the grounds that it violates the officer’s rights to due process.
The previous post regarding an altercation was taken down at the request of the Warren Police Commissioner. I await…
The officer has since been placed on paid leave and faces an Internal Affairs investigation, according to Dwyer. The police commissioner also confirmed that audio and video from the officer’s body-worn camera also recorded what transpired during the arrest. Dwyer has so far refused to clarify on what grounds the driver was detained. According to news reports, however, police are now claiming that the driver failed to immediately show his driver’s license when asked.
In a statement to FOX Business, Amazon has demanded “full accountability” for the officer. A spokesperson for the retail giant told the network:
“We see what others see in this video, and it’s unacceptable. We expect a swift investigation and full accountability for those involved. Amazon will deploy all necessary resources to investigate the matter with our Delivery Service Provider, as well as to represent and support the driver.”