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An astonishingly ugly video out of Warren, Michigan was posted by 7 Action News today. The video shows a woman named Charda Gregory being roughly shoved onto a bench by a police officer identified as Bernadette Najo. An Emergency Restraint Chair is then wheeled out and and Gregory is thrown into the chair by three officers. Even as Gregory is being restrained, Officer Najo is seen behind her hacking off her hair weave with scissors while Gregory thrashes and struggles against what is happening to her.

From the accompanying article posted to 7 Action news:

“I was confused.  I didn’t know what happened and what was going on,” said Gregory.

Warren police officials say they do ask prisoners to remove clipped-in long hair extensions, so they can’t be used as a weapon or to commit suicide.  But a weave is different, and Police Commissioner Jere Green says what Officer Bernadette Najor did was not a proper use of force.

“There’s a real simple thing:  it’s called right and wrong.  And to me this is something that I won’t tolerate, I don’t think the citizens of Warren will tolerate it,” said Green.

I'm heartened to hear that Police Commissioner Green is taking the matter seriously. This is something not just the citizens of Warren should not tolerate, it is something society as a whole should not tolerate. I can think of no reason to do this to someone other than to punitively humiliate them. It is one thing to restrain a combative person in custody. It is quite another to arbitrarily decide that their hair extensions offend you enough to slice them off.

Warren, Michigan, with a population of roughly 135,000 people is the largest suburb in the Metro Detroit area. The demographics show that whites making up nearly 80% of the population while the black population hovers around 13%. I will leave it to readers to decide for themselves whether race played a role in this abuse. As for me, I have a very difficult time imagining this same officer taking her scissors to a head full of blonde hair.

UPDATE: As I was writing this diary, 7 Action News updated their story with much more detail. Officer Najo has been fired from her position.

“I don’t buy that’s the proper way to treat a human being.  I don’t think it’s decent, I don’t think there was any reason to do it, and when I look at it – that bothers me,” said Green.

Green says as soon as he learned about the incident, he placed Najor on leave and she has since been fired.

“Is this the first time she’s had discipline problems,” asked Catallo.

“No,” said Green.

Originally posted to Steven Payne on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:25 PM PST.

Also republished by Support the Dream Defenders and Inherent Human Rights.

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