BCPD Responds To Civil Rights Complaint After Altercation With Disabled Man
The City of Battle Creek has now responded to a civil rights complaint, filed after a police officer got into an altercation with a mentally disabled man.
The City says Tuesday that in September of this year, several Battle Creek Police officers were standing outside the police station on Division St when they were approached by a 25-year-old man with mental disabilities; WWMT identifies that man as Frederick Williams. Williams began asking questions about construction taking place at the HQ, and when officers said they had to leave he reportedly took an “aggressive stance”.
An officer approached to deescalate, when Williams allegedly struck him in the face. Officers eventually subdued him with pepper spray, a taser, and a punch to the face. The BCPD says that they have conducted an internal investigation into this incident, and that the Michigan State Police is currently evaluating how appropriate the use of force was.
Officials say they did determine that a new officer currently being trained failed to disclose a mental health order issued by the court to his fellow officers; reportedly, he didn't disclose this because he didn't understand what the order meant.
As well, several officers failed to activate their in-car microphones during this incident, as they are required to do so during interactions with the public. All of these officers have since been sanctioned by the department.
The Battle Creek NAACP filed a civil rights complaint with the State after this incident, saying it was handled inappropriately and that the man’s race was a factor. They also dispute official accounts of how the situation unfolded.