NILES — Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said Wednesday an internal investigation is underway after a Facebook Live video surfaced Tuesday that captured a sheriff’s deputy “physically arresting” a woman in Niles.
The sheriff said the approximately 12-minute video begins about 26 minutes after the initial traffic stop on Tuesday made by the deputy.
Bailey said the internal investigation will include a review of all dash cam videos, body camera videos, police reports and any other evidence related to the incident.
Bailey said that based on his preliminary review of information he has received, the deputy stopped a vehicle driven by a 39-year-old woman from Niles in the 1600 block of Michigan Avenue.
The woman gave false information to the deputy regarding her identity, and when the deputy determined she was not going to provide true information, he tried to handcuff her, Bailey said.
He said based on his preliminary review, the woman refused to follow verbal commands from the deputy and physically resisted being handcuffed, at which point the deputy attempted to use the force necessary to make an arrest, while continuing to give verbal commands.
Bailey said the deputy was able to get the woman in handcuffs with the help of a bystander. In the video the arresting officer, who is not named, has her pinned to the roadway for a period of time, trying to hand-cuff her.
The video was recorded by a woman who says she’s from South Bend. As of Wednesday evening the video had been viewed around 32,000 times, eliciting criticism of the way the officer handled the arrest, as well as praise for him and criticism of the woman for refusing to follow any of his directions. Nearly 900 people had posted comments about it.
The woman was taken to a Lakeland hospital for treatment of minor injuries which she sustained while struggling with the deputy, Bailey said. After being treated and released from the hospital, she was taken to the Berrien County jail where she is being held on charges of resisting and obstructing police, possession of methamphetamine, driving on a suspended license, open intoxicant in a motor vehicle and providing false verbal information to law enforcement.
Bailey said based on his preliminary review, the physical struggle between the deputy and the woman lasted about two minutes.