David Bivins assaulted by Detroit Police Officer (Image Source: YouTube video screenshot)

In Detroit, being totally innocent of a crime and getting beaten by a cop is OK, according to its police chief. Last week, a Detroit man identified as David Bivins and his girlfriend were shopping at a local Meijer department store when they were detained by a loss prevention member. The couple had brought in bags from another store and after showing receipts for their purchases at Meijer and another store were allowed to depart.

At some point, Bivins leaves his girlfriend and goes to the front of the store where he is stopped by an off-duty Detroit cop who is moonlighting. The officer assumes Bivins is a shoplifter, unaware that he’s innocent and the loss prevention team has let him go. When Bivins begins to protest, a heated argument ensues, which spills into the parking lot. The unidentified officer tells a protesting Bivins he is under arrest and soon it gets physical. The officer viciously beats Bivins with a metal baton as a gathering crowd watches and begs the officer to stop. Bivins is taken into custody and charged with resisting and obstructing arrest and disorderly conduct.

The video went viral and last week. Detroit Police Chief James Craig stated to a Detroit CBS affiliate, “Preliminary I can say that he acted appropriately given the aggressive behavior of the suspect and his response to it. Also factoring in a growing group of people that surrounded him, certainly there were a lot of things that I can imagine were going through his head. So preliminary I can say that the force was proper and that it was responsible to overcome the resistance.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, the officer involved is 65, and a 39-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department. The investigation is still open and ongoing, the name of the officer has not been released. The video of the encounter can be seen below:

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.