Wayne State Police Department arrested a 54-year-old man outside the Wayne State Law School on Nov. 13, WSUPD Lt. David Scott said.
A video of the incident was posted on Facebook, sparking debate on whether police used excessive force.
Aysha Jamali, a woman who said she witnessed the incident, uploaded four videos on Tuesday afternoon under the header “Trigger Warning: Police Brutality.”
“Today, I witnessed police officers arrest a Black man with what I am calling excessive force outside Wayne State University Law School,” Jamali said in the Facebook post. “I noticed one officer shaking a can of pepper spray and aiming at the man’s face as if to spray him. At some point the officer no longer was aiming the pepper spray at the man. I think that my standing there with my colleagues and couple of other people is what discouraged the officer from using the pepper spray.”
Police say the man, who they have not released the name of, visited Wayne Law at 1 p.m. Tuesday seeking legal services for a personal matter.
“After being informed that these services were not available, the man became agitated and refused to leave the Law School,” stated an email sent by WSUPD to the campus community. “A staff member became concerned that the matter might escalate and called the police for assistance.”
Officials from Wayne Law refused comment.
After running a background check on the man, police found he had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants equaling to a total bond amount of $454 and subsequently arrested him, Scott said.
The department said the officers on the scene were following appropriate police protocol.
“After reviewing the video taken at the scene and talking with numerous people related to this incident, I am confident that the Wayne State police officers on the scene handled the matter appropriately and within the law,” stated an email from the department. “There were no injuries to any party related to this incident.”
The man was taken to the Detroit Detention Center, where he was unable to post the required bond, and will be transferred to the district courts where his warrants were issued, Scott said.
Sean Taormina is The South End's breaking news and WSUPD beat reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.