Detroit police chief reacts to officer beating naked woman

An 18-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department has been suspended and is under criminal investigation for the brutal beating of a naked woman at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Cell phone video captured by a witness and shared with Fox 2 News shows the officer, whose name is being withheld, repeatedly punching the woman.

The incident occurred Wednesday night after the woman was picked up by officers responding to a possible "lewd and lascivious in progress" call in the Woodbridge area, Police Chief James Craig said in a news conference Thursday. He said they thought the woman was having a "mental episode" and transported her to the hospital.

Once inside Detroit Receiving, Craig says police body camera video shows the woman "became very aggressive," spitting on hospital employees and biting a security guard. Craig said she also tried to bite the officer who wound up punching her more than a dozen times.

"As he was trying to calm her down, at some point the officer began to strike her because she wasn't responding, she was not compliant," Craig said. "Where it takes somewhat of a turn ... there were points where the suspect had turned her back, but the officer continued to punch, it was at that point that we had grave concerns about the officer's actions."

Hospital employees, Craig said, described the woman as "very agitated, very aggressive, very threatening" but "they offered no comment as to the force."

Throughout the statement, he repeatedly referred to the woman as "the suspect," even though his officer is also now likely a "suspect" in an assault investigation.

The "suspect" victim had some evidence of contusions after the brutal beating, Craig said. She was treated for minor injuries and is currently in stable condition.

In a statement, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality urged the DPD to permanently take the officer off the streets.

"When we looked at the video, we saw an officer with corporal stripes who had total disdain for a citizen who was obviously ill," said DCAPB spokesman Kenneth Reed. "The hatred was palpable."

"[This officer] is a danger to our citizenry. While he may punch today, he is at risk of shooting tomorrow."

The officer has been suspended with pay, as is standard procedure before they are charged with a crime.

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