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Michigan attorney general to review probe of deputy punching woman

Ann Arbor — An investigation into a Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy captured on video punching a black woman in the head will be reviewed by Michigan Attorney General's Office, the Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

The decision to have Attorney General Dana Nessel's office review the case came after days of protests calling for the deputy to be charged following the video of Shatina Grady being punched during her arrest early Tuesday.

Sha'Teina Grady El

On Thursday afternoon, more than 100 people gathered outside the Washentaw County Sheriff’s complex in Ann Arbor and demanded the deputy be brought to justice, an organizer said.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said several officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, including the one seen on the video punching the woman, and an internal investigation is underway.

“There is absolutely no doubt, and no argument from me, that the images in the video are disturbing,” Clayton said. “It warrants a complete investigation.”

Grady, 45, whose arrest sparked the protests after she was punched, is jailed in Wayne County, where she faces three cases involving altercations with police.

Trische Duckworth, organizer of Survivors Speak, said about 100 people gathered peacefully outside the Washentaw County complex to demand justice for Grady and for her release.

The group marched around the county complex on Hogback Road near U.S.-23.

"We want her released and we want her to have medical attention," Duckworth said. "Most of this stuff we are seeing is racism and white supremacy at its core."

Late Thursday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued a statement saying she contacted Grady's attorney via email and voice message to inform him she has requested that Grady be medically evaluated and that she be considered for release on a tether in light of the Covid virus.

"It is the position of Prosecutor Worthy that considering the possible impact of the COVID virus and Ms. Grady’s injuries that she be considered for an administrative jail release with a tether and a no-contact provision with the complainants on her cases," said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

Duckworth said her group plans to meet with Worthy at 1 p.m. on Friday in Detroit to make the same demands.

The Washtenaw County sheriff also plans to hold a media briefing at 1 p.m. on Friday. The briefing will be streamed live at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Body camera and dash camera video used in the presentation will be made available on its website following the Friday briefing, spokesman Derrick Jackson said.

On Wednesday, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office asked for additional information before deciding whether charges will be brought in the case, Jackson said.

More:Video showing Washtenaw sheriff's deputy punching woman sparks protests

Grady's attorney, William Amadeo, told The Detroit News on Thursday that Grady's arraignment is at 1 p.m. on Friday. Amadeo said he was pleased the attorney general would be reviewing the case and conduct of the deputy.

"There's a lot of racism and bias here, and I'm going to fight this in the court of public opinion," Amadeo said. "I don't think the Taylor (Police Department) and the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice (Wayne Circuit Court) want the same protests that are going on in Washtenaw right now."

Court records show that one of Grady's cases is out of Canton Township; the two others stem from Taylor incidents. 

In the Canton Township case, Grady was a front-seat passenger of a vehicle "that had no record on file" during a March 2019 traffic stop, said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

She allegedly refused to give identification to police, but officers say they "were able to determine her identity" and learned she had a warrant out for her arrest in Taylor.

"After approximately 40 minutes of being asked to get out of the car, the officers broke the window and were able to remove her from the car," Miller wrote in an email. "She is alleged to have bitten one officer — piercing his skin through his leather glove."

In the Canton Township case, Grady is charged with one count of resisting and obstructing an officer causing injury, and four counts of resisting and obstructing an officer.

Grady's trial was to begin March 2, court records show, but she did not appear at the court.

The failure-to-appear warrant is one of the reasons she was picked up from the Washtenaw County Jail after her arrest. Court records show she was remanded on that warrant.

The Taylor case allegedly stems from a December 2019 traffic stop for speeding, Miller wrote.

"It is alleged that she refused to pull over initially, then when she finally pulled over it is alleged that she gave the officer a fake ID card and refused to get out the vehicle and had to be physically removed," Miller wrote. 

Grady was charged with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, and resisting/obstructing the police. She faces a June 8 probable cause conference in that case, and a June 15 preliminary exam before Judge Joseph Slaven at 23rd District Court. Slaven gave her a $2,000 cash bond. 

Grady is also still wrapping up a 2018 misdemeanor case in Taylor, allegedlfor "interfering with police authority," and has a settlement conference scheduled for June 2. She was given a $500 bond on that matter.

Amadeo said he wants to handle the caseload and advocate for his client.

"I don't want her to get a court-appointed lawyer today," Amadeo said early Thursday, before it was known whether she would be arraigned.

Referring to a hip injury Grady suffered at work from which she's recovering, he said, "there is no way another lawyer could know that, unless they knew of the situation. They wouldn't have enough time to discuss the issues."

As long as Grady is "stuck inside the jail," Amadeo said, "I can't do much for her. She's not going to get the care she needs. Wayne County Jail is not where you want to place somebody right now, under any circumstances."

The Washtenaw County incident, the Associated Press reported, took place after Grady and her husband allegedly ignored an order to leave the scene of a shooting as officers formed a perimeter to keep community members away from a potential shooter.

jdickson@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @downi75