** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **
Grand Rapids police have released body camera video from an incident in which they fired bean bag rounds at a woman who was harming herself. The incident happened Thursday evening near the roundabout at Jefferson Avenue and Cherry Street SE near Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. The Grand Rapids Police Department says the woman cut herself with a knife. The officer whose bodycam video was released can be heard repeatedly asking the woman what her name is, urging her to drop the knife and telling her that police don’t want her to harm herself. “If you put the knife down, you can come and sit in my car and talk to me,” the officer can be heard saying. “…You’re not in any trouble. We just want to know what’s going on here.” Police gave the woman plenty of space, standing on the other side of the street, while they tried to reason with her and worked out a plan. “I will talk to you, but you’ve got to throw that knife away,” the officer can be heard saying. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself and I don’t want to hurt you.”
“No one’s going to attack you, honey,” the officer adds later. “We just want to know what’s going on today.” After several minutes, officers realized the woman was not going to drop her knife. They decided to use bean bag rounds, which are fired using a “less-lethal shotgun” carried by patrol supervisors. An officer fired four bean bags, causing the woman to drop her knife and fall down, at which point police rushed toward her and handcuffed her. Officers soothed the crying woman, reassuring her that she hadn’t been shot and saying that they wanted to help her. “They’re just bean bags. They’re just going to bruise you. You’re OK,” the officer can be heard saying in her bodycam video. Eventually, the woman was loaded onto a gurney by EMTs and put into an ambulance. GRPD said she was taken to the hospital for treatment of cuts and a mental evaluation. Police altered the bodycam video to blur the woman’s face and cut out her stating her name to protect her identity.
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