GRPD: 5 teens arrested in downtown assault

A still image from video of a group assaulting a man in downtown Grand Rapids on July 28, 2015. (Courtesy the Grand Rapids Police Department)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say five people have been arrested in connection to an assault in downtown Grand Rapids that was captured on video.

The suspects were described in a Thursday afternoon release from the Grand Rapids Police Departments as four juveniles and a 17-year-old.

All five face charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. Four of the suspects’ cases will be handled in juvenile court, while it appears the 17-year-old will be charged as an adult. The assault charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The assault happened last week in the area of Monroe Avenue and Louis Street near Rosa Parks Circle, GRPD says. Video of the assault shows a member of a group yell for someone to “sock” the victim, and then several people punching and stomping the man. The 18-year-old victim sustained a concussion and some bruising, cuts and scrapes.

The department released the video on Monday, seeking the public’s help to find the people involved. GRPD said the video prompted tips that helped identify suspects.

“The public’s inclusion and supporting the Grand Rapids Police Department’s efforts were crucial in this particular investigation,” GRPD Sgt. Terry Dixon said. “I would like to give a special thank you to the citizens of Grand Rapids for helping us with this case.”

Dixon told 24 Hour News 8 that more charges may be authorized in coming days.

“If you take a look at the video itself, it (this case) demands priority. This is not something that’s acceptable in our city,” Dixon said. “This will not be tolerated.”

In the video, the assailants appear to be black and the victim is white. When asked if there was evidence the assault was racially motivated, Dixon said that “at this point, this is a random act of violence.”

“The prosecutors, the detectives have moved forward with the most appropriate charge in this case,” he continued. “But keep in mind, things can change. This is an ongoing investigation. So what is levied today could change tomorrow depending upon the evidence that we gather.”

Dixon said that police had talked to the woman who recorded the video and that it was still unclear whether she would face any charges.

Anyone with more information about the incident is asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3337 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

**Editor’s note: Sound has been removed from the video above due to the use of a racial slur.