By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Jaquan Murphy, who became the unintended focus of a March 30 viral video, was detained by police officers and taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, belying ill-informed accusations.
Police Chief Ronald Haddad said the mentally ill man, with whom the Police Department has had 191 contacts in the past nine years, ranging from larceny to assault, also has a record of negative contact with police officers in Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Hamtramck, Oak Park, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak, Southfield, Birmingham, Troy and Berkley.
Haddad said that on March 30, bystanders called 911 when Murphy began walking in the road in the heavily trafficked area of Schaefer and Ford roads, interfering with traffic and putting his life and others at risk.
Haddad said that when the first police officer, who recognized Murphy, arrived on the scene, his priority was to safely secure him, even as he resisted arrest and tried to strike him.
He said bystanders stepped in and helped the responding officer, prevent Murphy from putting himself back into danger in the traffic lanes.
Haddad said that despite Murphy’s many outstanding warrants, police officers chose to instead take him to a local hospital, with a request for a psychiatric evaluation. He noted that Murphy was released from the hospital several hours later.
“As a rule, citizens call on situations such as this,” he said. “Causing a disturbance at a mosque or in a store, walking in traffic, basically hassling people.”
Haddad said Murphy has been taken to homeless shelters, and in the past tried to work with his family to get him help.
He said his family appears to have moved out of the area, and police officials are trying to locate any of his relatives.
“We want to be completely transparent,” Haddad said. “The unfortunate part is that, when it comes to the homeless and the mental fitness of the population in the country, they are totally unsuited to deal with it,” Haddad said. “They are left on the street to their own survival, and ultimately, police are called to try to make some sense of order.”
Haddad said that, other than trying to hold Murphy down, briefly, there was no other force being used at the time.
“(The officer) went in to control and hold him there until help could come,” he said. “In a matter of time, other officers showed up, and as soon as they had him under control, they picked him up, and put him in a car, and at no time was any more force used than was necessary,” he said. “In spite of the fact that there were four warrants out for his arrest, the officers determined that it was best to take him to the hospital.”
Haddad said the hospital released Murphy after a couple of hours.
Haddad said if anyone has a problem with his department, focus on him, not his officers.
“The men and women around here work very hard, every single day,” Haddad said. “It has never been tougher to be a cop in America. What you have in Dearborn is officers that come to work every damn day, and put it on the line every day, and if you think we are not in a lawless society, you’d better think again.”