A Michigan police officer punched a black man several times in the face for “littering” during a traffic stop, body cam footage has revealed.
The attack happened on 26 March when Grand Rapids officers pulled over 25-year-old Diabate Hood, who then refused to step out of his car. There were two other men in the vehicle with Mr Hood, police said.
Mr Hood reportedly attempted to flee by jumping into the passenger seat. The video shows three officers holding him down and one punching him several times in the face. Officers kept shouting “Stop resisting.”
The body cam footage comes days after a jury found the Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. In remarks reminiscent of Floyd’s last words, Mr Hood could also be heard yelling: “I can’t breathe.”
According to WOOD-TV, Michigan attorney Tyrone Bynum is taking legal action against the three Grand Rapids Police Department officers for racially profiling two black men in the car including Mr Hood and one Latino man.
He told the media: “You don’t have to listen to me, look at the video.”
The video that was posted on social media shows several officers approaching a Chevrolet Sedan and asking one of the passengers to step out for throwing rubbish out of the window.
The Grand Rapids police chief, Eric Payne, has said the traffic stop was part of its Operation Safe Neighbourhoods programme, which he said he had timely and accurate intelligence to justify. Mr Payne said the operation was in response to an increase in the crime in the area recently.
He said: “This is the police work that I expect from my personnel.”
The footage shows that one of the passengers was taken to an on-scene police car to be searched. His hands were cuffed behind his back and he asked: “What the hell did we do?”
One police officer responds: “Littering.”
Mr Hood kept asking the police why he needed to step out the car when he had already handed the cops his license.
After Mr Hood tried to jump to the passenger car, he was stopped by officers on both sides. The video then shows the officers pinning him down and one punching him several times in the face.
Mr Hood can be heard saying: “I didn’t do nothing. What the f**k? I can’t breathe.”
Meanwhile, the police have claimed that they found four weapons in the car which they are using to file felony charges against Mr Hood. He is also being charged with resisting arrest, and attempting to disarm a police officer.
Mr Bynum, the attorney representing the three men in the car, said in a statement: “What I saw in the video was another George Floyd.”
On Tuesday, the police also released bodycam footage of a Columbus officer shooing 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant.
Jeremy DeRoo, the executive director of community development nonprofit LINC UP was quoted by Michigan Live as saying: “That is a dangerous sentiment to think that we have officers who are approaching situations with residents of this city with the perspective that those residents are lucky if the police officers let them remain alive.”
In the video, one officer could be heard yelling: “You’re lucky you are alive.”
Watch: Police officer shot and killed teen girl holding a knife, bodycam shows