4 Cops Charged After Video of Man Beaten in Traffic Stop

Michigan trooper Bram Schroeder accused of punching Vance Martin, while 3 others stood by
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2022 9:19 AM CDT

Four police officers in Michigan have been charged after prosecutors say a man pulled over for suspected drunk driving was handcuffed, then assaulted by one of the officers, while the others did nothing to stop him. Per a release from Michigan's Department of Attorney General, Bram Schroeder and Zachary Tebedo, two Michigan State Police troopers, stopped Saginaw resident Vance Martin on March 28 after they say he was speeding in his red Pontiac Grand Am and failed to signal. The troopers were soon joined on the scene by Jordan Engelhart and Dominic Vasquez, two officers from the Saginaw Police Department. Prosecutors say Martin appeared to be intoxicated, and that he was uncooperative as the police officers tried to arrest him.

What allegedly happened next is what has the officers now facing criminal charges. MLive.com features video recorded by a witness showing the police officers trying to get a handcuffed Martin into a patrol vehicle, with voices off camera yelling, "Get in the car!" After a few seconds, one of the officers—identified as Schroeder—is seen punching Martin in the face several times, causing Martin to crumble to the ground, with no apparent reaction from the other officers other than to pull Martin up and try once more to get him into the vehicle. A bystander can be heard proclaiming, "Oh, you can't hit him. He's handcuffed!" After an MSP internal affairs probe, Schroeder was placed on paid administrative leave the next day, per MLive. The Michigan AG agreed in May to prosecute the case.

The four officers were arraigned Wednesday before Saginaw County District Judge Elian EH Fichtner. Schroeder faces a felony charge of common law offenses, which could bring him five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine if he's convicted, as well as a misdemeanor aggravated assault charge, which could lead to one year in prison. Tebedo, Vasquez, and Engelhart each face one count of neglect of duty, also one-year misdemeanors. All four are free on bond. Tebedo was suspended last month, while Engelhart and Vasquez remain on active duty, per Saginaw Police Chief Robert Ruth. "This is a good start," Martin, who says he was also Tasered by an officer while being taken to a hospital, tells MLive. "They just should not be in policing. I just want the officers' [actions] to be acknowledged. I was treated so unfairly." He hasn't been charged with any crimes from the March incident. (More excessive force stories.)

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