A dispute over a Crock-Pot led to a confrontation at a backyard barbecue in Michigan in which police tased a father as he held his 2-month-old baby, an incident recorded by a witness in a cell-phone video that has gone viral.
Ray Brown, 33, was tased multiple times and arrested on suspicion of a slew of charges including resisting arrest, neglect of a minor and assault and battery of a police officer in the incident in the Detroit suburb of Westland, police said.
The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Friday as Brown was making S'mores in the backyard of his home for friends and their children following a barbecue, his baby's mother told ABC News.
"When the man knew he was going to be arrested, he grabbed the child from another person's arms. The man was told several times by the officers and the baby's mother to give the baby back to her, but he refused," Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik said during a news conference Monday afternoon.
"The officers indicated in their report that the man was aggressive and was gripping the child so tightly that they feared the man might actually be hurting the child," he said.
Jedrusik said the officers were left with limited options and in the quickly escalating episode, chose to deploy a stun gun.
"The officers were within inches of the man when they utilized the Taser," he said. "A Taser deployment in this manner does not transfer or affect anyone else who is in contact with that person. As a result, neither the baby nor the officers were at risk of the Taser effects."
But the baby boy's mother, Nicole Skidmore, 28, told ABC News on Monday that police deployed the stun gun on Brown at least three times and handcuffed him once they had him on the ground.
"I think they were way out of line," Skidmore said. "They could have handled the situation differently because my son was in his arms. They didn't care about my son."
Skidmore said the whole ordeal started over a Crock-Pot.
She said her former friend called her earlier Friday to ask if she could come and fetch a Crock-Pot Skidmore had borrowed.
"So we start barbecuing for the kids. Later on that night, her [former friend's] mom pulls up on my grass and says, 'I'm here for a Crock-Pot,'" Skidmore said.
She said her ex-friend showed up moments later asking for the Crock-Pot.
She said Brown became upset at how they demanded the Crock-Pot and an argument broke out.
"So, they start arguing back and forth and she ended up calling the police," Skidmore said. "The police came over here trying to tell him that he [Brown] destroyed somebody's property or that he was being disorderly."
The video shot by neighbor Kelvin Williams shows Brown raising his voice at the officers, who are heard warning him to calm down and accusing him of being drunk in public.
"Bro, I don't even drink," Brown is heard saying. "What are you talking about? Have you done a Breathalyzer on me?"
An officer responded, "Shut your mouth for two seconds," according to the video.
But Brown became even more agitated, yelling, "You don't have the right to tell me to shut my mouth. You can tell me to be quiet for a second."
Renée Henry, a neighbor, told ABC News that she was standing next to Brown holding his baby when an officer yelled at her, "Get that baby out of here."
Brown, according to the video, shot back, yelling, "That's my child. He can be exactly where he's at. Give me my child! Give me my child! This is my son. He ain't got to go nowhere."
"So, he took the baby out of my arms to hold him 'cause he kept crying. He wouldn't stop crying for me, so I gave him to his dad," Henry said. "Next you know, the cop pushed me out of the way and had the Taser in his hands and tased him in the chest."
Skidmore said she ran over and grabbed the baby as Brown fell to the ground.
Jedrusik said the initial call police received was from a woman who claimed she was assaulted by both Brown and Skidmore when she went to their house to retrieve her property. He said the woman complained that the couple also damaged her vehicle.
"It's important to remember that due to [Brown's] non-compliance, our officers were faced with a difficult tactical decision on how to take this man into custody while still trying to ensure the baby's safety," Jedrusik said.
Jedrusik said Brown was also arrested on outstanding warrants and remained in jail Monday.
"We are in the process of conducting a thorough internal investigation to determine whether our policy procedure was followed and whether the incident was handled in a proper manner," Jedrusik said. "I just ask that you be patient and let us continue with our investigation."