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DETROIT (AP) — A prosecutor charged two Detroit police sergeants with official misconduct and assault and battery Monday for attacking a man in a casino parking garage, prompting the police chief and a police union chief to say they may have been "overcharged."
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Sgt. Raytheon Martin, 40, and Sgt. Lacell Rue, 35, in the July 22, 2018, incident at the Greektown Casino. Martin also was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
In an incident captured on video, a 26-year-old Detroit man did not make any aggressive physical gesture before Martin struck the man in the back of the head and punched him multiple times while he was on the ground and that Rue shocked the man twice with a stun gun while he held his hands up, Worthy's office said in a news release.
Police Chief James Craig said after reviewing surveillance video of the incident that Martin and Rue might have been "overcharged."
"I've only seen one video, and there may be other information I'm not aware of, but right now I'm having a difficult time understanding why these officers were charged with felonies," Craig said at a news conference.
Craig said the incident started when a group of young men who appeared to be intoxicated began causing trouble in the hotel lobby. Officers were called to the scene, and the situation escalated, he said.
"This led to the officers using force," Craig said. "When I had a chance to look at the video, I can tell you I'm troubled. We as an agency are never shy about addressing criminal misconduct, and uses of force never look good. But from what I saw on the video, it's troubling that there were felony charges filed."
Mark Young, president of the Detroit Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association Union, also said Martin and Rue "were overcharged. In no other county would they have been charged with felonies."
Worthy's office declined to comment further on the charges.
Martin was placed on administrative duty after the incident, The Detroit News reported. Craig said they both will be suspended with pay.
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