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AG: Washtenaw Co. deputy's use of force was 'justified and appropriate' in May incident

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Posted at 3:21 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 15:21:06-04

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — A woman arrested in an excessive force incident with Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputies in May is now facing charges related to the incident.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputy accused of using excessive force now on administrative leave
Charges filed against police officers, residents in 3 alleged police misconduct cases in Michigan

On Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced results of her office’s investigations into three alleged police misconduct cases, including the case in Washtenaw County.

The AG's office said Austin Pearson, a white deputy with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the police officers who responded to a shooting in an Ypsilanti neighborhood on May 26.

Shatina Grady and her husband, Daniel Grady, who are both Black, began to interfere with the police activity and refused multiple directives to stop their attempts to compromise the established perimeter, the AG's office said.

Relatives of Shatina recorded the encounter and accused officers of police brutality.

Pearson then began to arrest the Gradys for noncompliance, and the couple physically resisted. During the struggle to arrest, it is alleged Shatina Grady severely bit Pearson on the arm.

Pearson then struck Shatina Grady three times with a closed fist in the head until she released her jaw. She allegedly bit Pearson’s other forearm and scratched his head with her fingernails, kicking at other officers as she was escorted to the patrol car.

While in the vehicle, it is alleged Shatina Grady forcefully kicked the door of the car repeatedly, causing damage to the door and the door frame.

The attorney general's office determined Pearson’s use of force was "justified and appropriate given the suspect’s level of resistance," and that he committed no criminal offense in his interactions with Shatina Grady.

However, Shatina Grady was charged with:

  • three counts of resisting and obstructing an officer, a two-year felony;
  • one count of resisting and obstructing an officer causing injury, a four-year felony; and
  • one count of malicious destruction of police property, a four-year felony.

Daniel Grady was also charged with two counts of resisting and obstructing an officer, a two-year felony.

Arraignment for Shatina and Daniel Grady is pending in Washtenaw County. Future court dates have not yet been set.

The sheriff's office released a statement about the AG's office's findings:

Integrity, honesty and professionalism are the foundation of a law enforcement agency’s legitimacy and trust within the communities it serves. The denial of criminal charges regarding the conduct of the involved Deputy Sheriff clears the way for the timely internal administrative review of the matter. The Office of the Sheriff takes allegations of misconduct seriously.

This use of force incident was investigated by specially trained, independent investigators from the Michigan Sheriff’s Association Special Investigative Operations Network (MISSION) and reviewed by the Michigan Office of the Attorney General. We are grateful to both for their effort and integrity in the investigation and review.

The Sheriff’s Office internal administrative review, which touches upon conduct in relationship to policy and training, is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office of Professional Responsibility and has begun. The Deputy Sheriff in question remains on administrative leave while this internal administrative review takes place.