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Questions linger after Amazon driver arrested in Warren

Police say man refused 11 requests to provide ID, attorney says officer sought ‘confrontation’

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 10, 2020 | Updated June 19, 2020 1:15pm

 File photo

File photo

"We see what others see in these videos, and it’s unacceptable. We expect a swift investigation and full accountability for those involved."

Deborah Bass, Amazon spokesperson

WARREN — A 76-year-old bank retiree said an Amazon delivery driver was polite and tried to be helpful when he approached her home with a package of shipped pistachios. He parked a delivery van in the street and walked up the driveway toward the house while she was watering the plants on June 10. She was in the yard, and he offered to place the heavy package on her porch.

It was around 2 p.m. on Engleman Avenue, near 10 Mile and Hoover roads in Warren. The resident said she took the package inside to her brother and was heading back out to get something from her trunk when “all hell broke loose.”

What happened next resulted in the arrest of the driver, an internal affairs investigation by the Warren Police Department and a statement from Warren Mayor Jim Fouts that he quickly rescinded and replaced as the department’s investigation got underway.

“He had him down, and he kept asking him to give him his hand because he was cuffing him,” the resident said, describing what she saw when she emerged from the house to find a Warren police officer struggling with the Amazon driver. “I don’t know what happened in that one minute I was in there.”

The driver, 23-year-old Jaylen Bond, of Detroit, was reportedly heading west along Engleman and parked with the driver’s side wheel to the curb on the south side of the street. Residents said they heard the officer tell the man he was parked illegally.

“That young man was in the truck behind me,” another neighbor said. The 77-year-old resident who has lived on Engleman for 50 years said she was just returning home from visiting her son when she witnessed the incident between the officer and the driver.

“There was no other traffic, really, and he parked the truck to make the delivery next door. It was a small van-type thing. I pulled in, took my stuff in, my son’s laundry and my groceries in,” she said. “The next thing, I thought I saw flashing lights.”

 The resident said she quickly went back to the door.

“I saw what was going on and the cop screaming at the kid, and he had just come from the house and he had given her a package, and walking back out there he said you can’t park like that, and you were driving the wrong way down the street,” she said. “The cop was hollering at him. Get down, get on your stomach. Do whatever.”

She said, “That’s when I started to go out, because I didn’t want to see it escalate any further.”

Both neighbors said they heard Bond yelling obscenities and both said there was some back-and-forth between him and the officer about what they said to each other during the initial encounter. Two women reportedly stopped and urged Bond to comply and to remain quiet. At least one man recorded the incident and reportedly posted it on Facebook. The video later appeared on the local television news.

“He must have called for backup, and in a few minutes, the whole street was loaded with bikes and cars, all flashing, and I think it was a little extensive, overkill as they say, for what was going on,” the resident who observed the initial interaction said.  

With an internal investigation now passed from the Warren Police Department to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said the officer asked Bond for his identification 11 times before he attempted to place him under arrest. He said the traffic officer on a motorcycle, a 19-year veteran of the department, was acting on complaints about vehicles in that area, including those operated by Amazon drivers.

“He actually asked 11 times, and 11 times he refused,” Dwyer said. “Finally, to de-escalate things, he tried to place him under arrest. A struggle ensued. He was able to place the handcuffs on him.”

Warren police reviewed video of the incident that was captured on the motorcycle’s camera, and the department submitted a warrant request for Bond, asking Macomb County prosecutors to charge him with resisting and obstructing, which is a two-year felony, and failure to display a valid operator’s license.

Dwyer said Bond did have a valid license in his possession at the time of the arrest.

“This could have been avoided. All he had to do was comply with a lawful order given by a police officer,” Dwyer said. “He could have ended up just getting a warning. He refused 11 times to give his driver’s license. It’s an unfortunate incident. Internal affairs is looking at it. It appears on the surface that excessive force was not used. I don’t tolerate excessive force.”

Macomb County Prosecutor Jean Cloud declined to authorize charges on June 11. On June 17, Bond and his attorney, Donald Andrews, spoke to reporters during a Zoom video press conference.

Afterward, Andrews said the video tells a story that’s different from what Warren police have been saying. He said rather than write a parking ticket for the van in the street, the officer opted to confront Bond and became irritated when he delivered the package.

“I think when he (the officer) didn’t get the response he wanted, he viewed that as a slight to him. To me, it looked like he was just going to go over and teach him a lesson,” Andrews said.

He added, “If he wanted to do something, then go ahead and write the parking ticket and then they’ll have to deal with that in court. He went up to confront the driver. What’s the purpose in that, unless you’re looking for a confrontation?”

Andrews said Dwyer “was putting out misinformation” about what happened and said it’s clear on the video that Bond was trying to provide identification that was in his hand. He said Bond was also wearing an Amazon vest and had identification around his neck.

A lawsuit had not been filed at press time on June 17, but Andrews said they’re investigating what happened. Bond reportedly went to urgent care for an evaluation after the encounter and will be checked out again. Andrews said Bond has a sore neck, has been having trouble sleeping and is still “somewhat fearful.” He has worked for Amazon for about nine months.

Andrews said they plan to contest the parking citation Bond received in court, at a date to be determined.

With demonstrations ongoing in Detroit, its suburban communities and across the country after the death of George Floyd during an arrest by police in Minneapolis on May 25, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts took to Facebook and issued a press release shortly after the incident involving Bond, who is black. Fouts then asked to rescind the release almost immediately. The Facebook post was removed and replaced with the following statement:

“The previous post regarding an altercation was taken down at the request of the Warren Police Commissioner,” Fouts posted later on June 10. “I await further details based upon additional information. I received several phone calls earlier regarding this incident, requiring me to make a statement that any type of aggressive behavior is not tolerated. I was upset that one individual could possibly besmirch the fine reputation of Warren police officers.”

Reached for comment on the arrest of its driver, Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass said, “We see what others see in this video, and it’s unacceptable. We expect a swift investigation and full accountability for those involved.

“Amazon will deploy all necessary resources to investigate the matter with our Delivery Service Provider, as well as to represent and support the driver,” Bass said.