Amazon Calls Arrest Of Delivery Driver Who Parked Illegally On Street 'Unacceptable,' Police Conducting Investigation

Amazon on Wednesday called for an investigation after one of its delivery drivers parked facing the wrong direction on a suburban street in Warren, Michigan and was shortly thereafter arrested by local police.

Video of the Tuesday afternoon incident quickly spread on social media as a white traffic enforcement officer was seen holding the 23-year-old black male driver to the ground as neighbors stood watching nearby.

According to Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, the officer moved to arrest the driver after requesting his identification 11 times.

"The officer had a legal reason to contact the driver, as he was parked illegally," Dwyer told Newsweek. "The officer attempted to speak with the driver, informed him of the violation and requested his license."

The driver was later charged with resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and failing to show his identification upon the officer's request, Dwyer said.

Protesters in Detroit
Protesters march against police brutality and in memory of George Floyd in Detroit, Michigan, on June 7, 2020. Two days later, an incident between a white police officer and a black Amazon delivery driver in Warren, Michigan sparked fresh outrage on social media as the local police department launched an investigation into the incident. SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

Neither the driver nor the officer involved were injured, and the driver was later released on personal bond, Dwyer told Newsweek. The incident was quickly turned over to the department's Internal Affairs Division. Once the investigation is concluded, "I will take the proper action as commissioner," Dwyer said.

The officer was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, local radio station WWJ reported.

The department on Wednesday released dashcam video of the incident, in which the officer's repeated requests for the driver to pull out his license are audible. In the video, the driver can be heard brushing off the requests for identification several times before the officer begins arresting him, at which time he yells, "I'm getting my license out."

According to Dwyer, the officer was monitoring the area because the Warren City Council had reported an increase in speeding vehicles in the neighborhood. The city council also told police Amazon delivery drivers in particular were violating traffic laws, Dwyer said.

"If the driver would have complied and provided, by law, his driver's license, this would not have become an altercation or an incident," Dwyer told Newsweek. "Probably the officer would have just given him a warning. He is responsible by law to provide, under a lawful command, his driver's license."

Footage of the arrest has already caused a stir on social media, with many viewers saying the incident is another example of police brutality against black Americans. At a time when thousands of Americans and people around the world have over the last two weeks protested against police brutality and systemic racism in response to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, the incident is a sensitive one for Warren police and other law enforcement officers who have been accused of using force against citizens in recent days.

In the case of the Amazon driver, the company spoke out on his behalf and requested an investigation into the "unacceptable" police behavior seen in the video.

"We see what others see in these videos, and it's unacceptable," Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass told Newsweek. "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.

Though Dwyer said the Amazon driver's refusal to retrieve his driver's license when first asked by the officer was cause for arrest, he said he was taking the investigation seriously. Dwyer said he personally oversaw the removal of a deputy police commissioner last year who used excessive force while on the job.

"I have a reputation of being fair," Dwyer said. "If [officers are] proven to use excessive force—I don't tolerate excessive force."