The Westland Police Department is under fire after an officer was caught on witness video apparently tasing a father holding his baby in his arms.
The incident occurred Friday when police say they came to Ray Brown's house on a report that a man had physically assaulted a woman and damaged her vehicle. Brown, who was outside having a barbecue with friends at the time, told police they had the wrong house, and an argument ensued.
In the video, police tell Brown to "get the baby out of here" and threaten to arrest him. Defiant, Brown tells them, “That’s my child. He can be exactly where he’s at. Give me my child. Give me my child."
Moments later, a taser crackles and a woman who later turns out to be Brown's girlfriend appears to swoop in to grab the baby from his arms. A witness cries out in shock — "They tased him with the baby in his hands? Y'all some — Oh my god!"
In a Sunday interview with WXYZ-TV, Brown's girlfriend, Nichole Skidmore, said she was in the street talking to police when the taser came out and she had to rush over to Brown "to catch the baby."
"As soon as they started tasing him, the baby fell out of his hands, I had to grab him, or he would have
But Westland police dispute that they deployed the taser while the child was still in his father's arms.
"Once the man learned that he was going to be arrested he grabbed the child from the mother’s arms and held the child tightly," Westland police said in a statement issued Monday. "The man refused to release the child back to the mother who was also asking for the child back. At that time the police officers on scene felt that a close quarters direct taser deployment directly to the subjects back was the safest option. The video shows that during the deployment the child was also in the hands of the mother."
An examination by Westland EMT found the baby to be unhurt, police said.
The potentially inappropriate behavior on the part of officers did not stop at the episode with the child. A follow-up video shows police continue to tase brown as he lays on the ground almost motionless.
"Y'all still tasing him, man?" a witness says.
"So what, get back!" an officer shouts in reply.
Skidmore told WXYZ she wants to see the officers held accountable.
"Something should be done to them ... they didn't care about my son at all."
Kelvin Williams was the witness who posted the video on Facebook. In the accompanying caption, he pleaded for people to take notice of what happened.
Man this shit gotta stop so y westland come over my friend house and say that their was a fight when we were just sitting there listening to music 🍗 bbqin with the kids and they come up to him and taze him with a 2 month old baby in his arms right next to me then handcuff him and beat his ass Then had the nerve to call the emt for the baby as if they didn’t just fuck up make this viral someone needs to do something about this I tried to grab the baby the cops push me out the way I’m so pissed right now
The video has since been viewed more than 300,000 times.
The Westland Police Department has opened an investigation into the situation. Yes, the department is investigating its own officer, yet its initial remarks suggest he will not be punished.
See the tasing for yourself around the 2:20 mark of the video below.
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