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Dashcam shows police chase involving stolen patrol car in Southfield

Posted at 11:30 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 23:30:41-05

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Police in Southfield released body and dash camera footage on Thursday of a chase that happened Feb. 19.

It started after a man stole a car and then took off in the police car that was chasing after him.

As seen on body cam footage, it took multiple officers holding down and using a stun gun on the suspect, 27-year-old Charleston Williams of Detroit, to finally get the handcuffs on. The chase ended at Winchester Street and Larkmoor but started nearly three miles away at the Franklin River Apartments.

“Law enforcement agencies across Southeast Michigan are all experiencing the same issue: individuals stealing cars, auto parts,” Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren said.

Barren says the department has been monitoring hotels and apartment buildings for car thefts. He says thieves target these locations because they have easy access to cars. It was at Franklin River where police on duty tried to stop a car theft in progress.

Nearly two miles away from the apartment complex, police finally caught up to the car, disabling it with a PIT maneuver. They then got out to make an arrest.

However the officer didn’t know how many people were in the car because of the tinted windows, Barren said.

When one suspect got out of the car on the passenger side, the officer went after him. However, Williams was still in the car. He got out of the driver side door and sat in the front seat of the empty police car.

From there, Williams and the officer fought for he wheel. The officer smashed the front window to grab Williams. The struggle continued for about 30 seconds until Williams took off in the patrol car.

“Arresting these suspects is not easy," Barren said. "They’re very aggressive and they have no regard for community safety or officer safety.”

Dashcam video from the patrol car shows Williams at the wheel driving erratically in a neighborhood. He made it roughly 1 mile until another officer coming toward him managed another PIT maneuver.

Barren says the department recently received training on PIT maneuver's from the Oakland County Sheriff's Department.

“Fortunately, we had a senior officer who was responding to the incident who identified our vehicle occupied by the suspect, performed a successful PIT maneuver, which spun our vehicle out and disabled it,” Barren said.

The chase was finally over, but the struggle still continued. Williams had access to a police rifle in the front seat, however besides injuries from the airbag, Barren says Williams wasn’t seriously hurt.

Barren said Williams has an extensive criminal history. He’s now in jail facing nine felonies and one misdemeanor. He was arraigned this week and given a $1 million bond.

“You see the criminal history this guy has, which is the reason he’s so aggressive. He doesn't want to go to jail,” Barren said. “It's not easy because time and time again these individuals are going to resist arrest, fight with us. Where does it end?”

Barren said Williams and three officers were taken to a local hospital for injuries, but were treated and released.