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GR agrees to $125K settlement with man punched by officer during arrest

Posted: 11:41 AM, Sep 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-25 11:44:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids has agreed to a settlement with a man who was repeatedly punched by a police officer during his arrest.

Grand Rapids will pay 24-year-old Bronquel Brown $125,000 for what happened during the March 17 traffic stop.

Brown was pulled over for speeding and went into a driveway, where police say he refused to provide his name or get out of the vehicle. Officers said he then started his vehicle, rolled up the window, started honking the horn and reaching around inside.

At that point, an officer broke his window to unlock the door, used pepper spray and pulled Brown out of the vehicle. Video shows another officer arriving and using a stun gun before an officer repeatedly hit Brown.

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office declined to pursue charges against the officer, but GRPD’s internal affairs unit determined he violated department policy. The officer, Drew Rau, was eventually fired because of the incident.

Brown’s arrest was one of several that drew scrutiny from citizens and was part of the lead-up to the investigation by Michigan’s civil rights office into complaints of discrimination.

Less than a week before the violent arrest of Brown, an officer was recorded pulling his gun on two teens he stopped for walking in the street.

David Kiddle, who was acting as interim police chief at the time, said one of the teens reached behind their back when the officer grabbed his arm, prompting the officer to draw his weapon.

He said the officer’s reaction was determined by the teen’s actions, which is what they are trained to do. Kiddle described it as a “ textbook example ” of how officers are expected to conduct themselves.