A black Amazon driver is arrested after parking on wrong side of street

A Michigan police officer has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation, and Amazon says it will represent and support the driver.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Ben Kesslen

The arrest of a black Amazon driver after he parked on the wrong side of the street is under investigation by police in a Detroit suburb.

Police in the city of Warren, about 20 miles north of Detroit, said the driver was arrested Tuesday after he failed to produce his driver's license.

"The driver became argumentative and refused multiple requests for his license. In fact he refused 11 times,” Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said, according to NBC News Detroit affiliate WDIV.

Cellphone video captured of the incident shows an officer, whose name has not been released, tackling the driver to the ground.

Amondeuz Graham, a witness who took the video, told WDIV, “One of the ladies who lived at the residence came out and tried to explain to the cop, ‘Hey, that’s my friend’s house, he was just delivering a package.'”

Graham said that by the time he started recording, the officer was already “on top of” the driver.

Police said they took the driver into custody and charged him with resisting and obstructing an officer, failure to obey a command, and failure to produce a driver’s license. He was also cited for illegal parking and has since been released on bond, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said this week.

Warren police released dashcam video of the arrest which they said showed that the driver became argumentative, and that the officer took the driver to the ground to maintain control of the situation.

The officer was placed on paid leave pending an internal police investigation into the matter, police said in a statement.

Amazon condemned the incident in a statement to NBC News.

“We see what others see in these videos, and it’s unacceptable,” said Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass. “We expect a swift investigation and full accountability for those involved.” Bass said the company will “represent and support” the driver.

The president of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP said in a statement that the incident shows that Warren police need "enhanced training."

"Everyone who has ever gotten a delivery package knows that delivery trucks of every sort at some point will park on the wrong side of the street," Dr. Wendell Anthony said. "Neighbors who witnessed this incident" with the driver, "who is very small in stature, with his face down on the ground, indicated that this was an unnecessary aggressive action on the part of the police officer."

Anthony added, "This is a most intense time in the relations between law enforcement and members of the community throughout the nation ... There is still much work to be done in communities around the city of Detroit."