A Detroit police corporal was allowed to return to his job just one week after he was charged with brutally assaulting a naked, unarmed and mentally ill woman inside an emergency room triage unit.
Dewayne Jones, 47, was suspended in August after cell phone video emerged showing the 18-year veteran of the force punching the woman about a dozen times while another officer and hospital security tried to restrain her at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
On Thursday, the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners voted 5-2 to allow Jones to return to administrative duty with pay after the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with misconduct in office and assault and battery. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
The Board of Commissioners went against the recommendation by Police Chief James Craig, who wanted Jones to be suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Jones is scheduled for a preliminary examination on Dec. 19 to determine whether enough evidence exists to warrant a trial.
Police Commissioner Willie Burton said he disagreed with the board’s decision to so quickly allow Jones to return to the force without gathering more evidence, such as video from body cams.
“I question whether Officer Dwayne Jones is fit for duty, and I recommend the department take action on getting a psychological evaluation for Officer Jones,” Burton told Motor City Muckraker. “And if the officer is fit for duty, then I request for him to begin crisis intervention training and anger management training.”
Burton added that Jones “opens the city up for possible lawsuits” related to “witness-tampering” if he has “access to case records and evidence.”
Burton said police need more training dealing with mentally ill people.
“It’s our duty to protect our residents and keep them safe, and making sure our officers are fully trained when deployed in our community.” Burton said.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.