Saginaw Protester Arrest Sparks More Use of Force Discussion

After more than 70,000 views on a viral video of the arrest of a Saginaw area protester, residents are talking to city officials again about police use of force.

The tasing and arrest of Neil Phelps (a member of “The Ghost of George Floyd” protest group) outside the Saginaw police union building was caught on video and posted to the group’s Facebook page Sunday .

Phelps was released from police custody Monday, and was able to speak at a protest on the incident outside the Saginaw county courthouse later in the day.


During Saginaw City Council’s Zoom Teleconference, residents were able to express their concern for the way Phelps was treated on Sunday.

Many who spoke said matters like this show the department’s systemic-racism, fear-mongering, and incitement of violence; and compared Sunday to past cases like the death of Milton Hall and the assault of an African American woman in the Saginaw county jail by a now-terminated officer who she had spit on.

After discussion by residents during public input, Council members Annie Boensch, Jamie Forbes, and Bill Ostash shared they knew Phelps and were at Monday’s protest.

Boensch said the issue is one that needs to be addressed quickly and with transparency,  and publicly requested a release of police body-cam footage.

Of the officers at the protest this weekend, the officers engaging with Phelps on video were two African American men and One white woman.

Two white male officers later arrived as backup, and one other woman was shown being arrested for federal trespassing for refusing to move off nearby train tracks.