A Grand Rapids, Michigan man, was punched in the face repeatedly by police officers who pulled him over for littering, reported FOX 40.
Video of the March 26 incident shows police pulling Diabate Hood over. The man had two passengers in his vehicle who exited the car at the direction of the police. However, Hood refused and questioned why he was being asked to get out of the vehicle since officers had his driver’s license.
Hood can be seen trying to exit on the passenger side after some back and forth, at which point officers drag him out of the car. Three officers hold him down while one begins to pummel him in the head with his fist while shouting, “stop resisting.”
Hood, who had been screaming as he was being attacked, began to alert officers that he was having trouble breathing as the cop pressed his face and body into the ground. Officers respond by telling Hood to “relax.”
Grand Rapids police said the traffic stop was part of a program they call Operation: Safe Neighborhoods, which was designed to reduce violent crime in the area. They are claiming that “timely and accurate intelligence” led them to initiate the traffic stop that resulted in Hood being assailed by one of the officers. However, they did not specify what the intelligence was that brought them to pull Hood. The video footage shows officers stating that littering was the reason behind the stop before Hood is seen being punched.
The chief of the Grand Rapids police department, Eric Payne, has doubled down on what appears to be excessive force given the events in the video. In a statement on Wednesday, Payne said, “This is the police work that I expect from my personnel. I have made the enforcement of violent crime and the recovery of illegal firearms one of the department’s top priorities.”
Police claim to have found four weapons in the car upon inspection, resulting in Hood being charged with three felonies.
Hood’s attorney Tyrone Bynum told FOX 17, “There are a lot of questions around the stop itself. My client, all they did was stop to get some ribs, barbecue ribs. Who’d ever think getting some of the best ribs in town would turn into one of the worst whoopings you ever got?”
Bynum also points to one of the officers who punched Hood, saying he’s “lucky he’s not dead,” as a telling moment in how police view Black motorists.
“For that to be a statement made in the heat of the moment, that was an honest statement and an honest belief of an officer that believed that was a possibility,” Bynum said. “I mean actually stated, he actually said, ‘You’re lucky.'”
The officers involved have not been identified, and Grand Rapids police have not launched an investigation through Internal Affairs. There is no word yet as to whether or not Hood will seek legal recourse.