A Detroit police officer has been suspended with pay after video of him repeatedly punching a naked woman in a hospital.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig has not released the name of the officer in question but described video of the scene as "disturbing" to CNN.
The victim of the beating, who is not named in police reports, had been seen wandering naked on the street, but did not appear agitated. Police responded to a "lewd and lascivious in progress" call about the woman at around 6:45 pm.
Police gave the woman a robe and took her to the Detroit Receiving Hospital without handcuffs, a move Craig described as a mistake.
"We know from our training and experience anytime we transport someone, particularly if they are suffering from mental illness, for their safety and for the officers' safety and the community's safety, that we handcuff," he said.
The woman became belligerent upon arriving at the medical facility. She spat on staffers and bit security personnel. She attempted to bite the officer in question as well.
While attempting to control the woman, the victim turned her back to the police officer. That's when he began hurling his fists at her.
Video of the scene shows him throwing at least ten punches. The woman was treated for minor injuries and bruises and is now in stable condition.
Craig has since said that officers should not be using "hard hands" on people when their backs are turned towards officers.
Craig says that police are in the process of reviewing body cam footage of the incident. He claims that the footage "tells a little bit of a different story," but added that use of force "never looks good."
Bystander video of the incident shows the officer did not attempt to de-escalate the situation as per his training.
Hospital employees have since been interviewed about the incident and confirmed the victim's agitated state, but did not comment on the behavior of the police officer.
Craig added that the officer in question has had six use-of-force complaints in the past. The most recent incident occurred in 2015 and resulted in injuries. Craig did not provide more information on the officer's history.
A criminal investigation into the officer has been launched by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, according to WXYZ, a Detroit, Michigan-based ABC affiliate.
At a press conference, Craig stressed the importance of treating the mentally ill, adding that department receives around 500 mental-health calls per month, with approximately 100 of those involving someone with a weapon, according to Fox2Detroit, a Detroit, Michigan-based Fox affiliate.
[Photo: FOX 2 Detroit]
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