Recorded on video repeatedly punching a handcuffed man in the face, a Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper was recently suspended and remains under investigation.
Around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Saginaw police officers and MSP troopers pulled over Vance Martin on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Martin’s cousin, Keith Brookins, began recording a Facebook Live video after one of the officers allegedly punched Martin several times in the face after placing him in handcuffs.
“They pulled him over, asking him his name,” Brookins told a couple of bystanders in the first video. “He told them his name. They said, ‘No, that ain’t your name. We know your real name.’ He said, ‘That’s my name.’ Next thing you know, they pulled him out the car, they handcuff him. They went like ‘Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!’ on his face.”
As the troopers attempted to put Martin in the back of a patrol car in the second video, Martin stood with his hands cuffed behind his back and refused to enter the vehicle. Although Martin was resisting, he did not appear to fight or act in an aggressive manner when one of the troopers suddenly punched him four times in the face.
Martin immediately fell to the ground, as Brookins told the trooper: “Aw, you can’t hit him.”
After Martin was transported to a hospital, he was booked in the Saginaw County Jail on five counts of assaulting, resisting, or obstructing police along with single counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and having an open intoxicant in a vehicle. He was released the next day without having been arraigned on any charges.
“I had a problem with a certain cop,” Martin told MLive. “He racial profiled me. He was calling me ‘boy’ the whole (time) he had me in ’cuffs. That’s where it really started from. I didn’t want to deal with him at all. I wanted a lieutenant, that’s all I wanted.”
On Tuesday, the Michigan State Police confirmed that the trooper who punched Martin has been suspended. Police officials have not disclosed the trooper’s name.
“The misconduct in this incident is not indicative of the standard of service set by this trooper’s peers, and as a result, will not be tolerated,” MSP Director Col. Joe Gasper told MLive.
The incident remains under investigation. The Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office will review the investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against the suspended trooper.