Westland police probe use of stun gun on man holding baby

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Westland police Chief Jeff Jedrusik on Monday discusses officers using a stun gun on a man being arrested and holding a baby.

Facing criticism for using a Taser on a man holding his baby, Westland police said they were worried for the infant's safety and had limited options in removing the infant from the man's grasp.

Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik said officers wrote in a report that the man had been "aggressive" and gripping his 2-month-old son so tightly they worried he might hurt him.

The officers had arrived Friday at a backyard barbecue and reported that the man was intoxicated and uncooperative, said the chief.

When the man learned he would be arrested, he grabbed the baby and wouldn't release him, said Jedrusik. Officers told the man several times to return the baby to his mother, but the man refused to do so.

Jedrusik said the officers and baby's mother were so close to the boy that they were able to grab him after they incapacitated the man with the stun gun.

The baby wasn't hurt.

"It is important to remember that due to the man's noncompliance, our officers were faced with a difficult tactical decision," Jedrusik said during a news conference at police headquarters.

An Inkster man who took video of the incident criticized the police's handling of the incident. The video was posted on Facebook on Friday. (Warning: The video contains graphic content and offensive language) 

"Someone needs to do something about this," Kelvin Williams said in the post showing the video. "I tried to grab the baby the cops push me out the way I’m so pissed right now."

Jedrusik said the only alternatives were for the officers getting into a "tug-of-war" over the baby or wrestling the man to the ground while he held the baby.

He said the charge from a stun gun doesn't transfer from the person being stunned to anyone in contact with the person.

The man, who wasn't identified by police, was charged with disturbing the peace, hindering a police investigation, damage to property, neglect of a minor child, disorderly person, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

The man also had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest, said the chief.

Jedrusik said police were called by the mother of the baby. She told police she was assaulted by the man and his girlfriend, who also damaged her vehicle, said the chief. The girlfriend hasn't been charged.

Police received another call that the man was walking on the street, yelling and threatening people, said Jedrusik.

A screenshot from a video posted to Facebook showing a man holding a baby during an altercation with Westland Police.

Police are investigating the handling of the incident, Jedrusik said.


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez