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An internal police investigation has been launched after amateur video was posted online appearing to show officers punching and kicking a handcuffed carjacking suspect. The video was filmed from inside a Detroit home and received some 11,500 Facebook shares by 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Police said in a statement that the suspect was an "extremely dangerous wanted felon" who attempted to reach for a loaded handgun while officers were attempting to restrain him. It defended the officers' actions as "proper."
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the incident would be the subject of an independent investigation by the Michigan State Police. The police officers involved in the incident on Monday were part of a multi-jurisdiction anti-carjacking task force called ACTION, according to a collaborative police statement published by NBC station WDIV. The "officers using force on a prisoner" were not from the Detroit Police Department, the force said on its Facebook page.
The ACTION officers began tracking the suspect after a carjacking earlier in the day in which he "pointed a gun at a mother and her two children and ordered them out of the vehicle," according to the collaborative statement. "He threatened to shoot them if they failed to comply." After he fled on foot and was tackled a quarter of a mile later, the man attempted several times to reach for his waistband, where police later learned he was carrying a loaded semi-automatic handgun, the collaborative statement said.
"Fearing for their safety and those in the immediate area, an officer delivered a kick to the thigh area of the subject thus allowing the other officers the ability to arrest the subject," it added. "Due to the totality of the circumstances we believe the actions of the officers in affecting the arrest [were] proper."
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