Police said a nursing home under strict Michigan coronavirus lockdown measures was unaware of an attack on an elderly patient until a viral video surfaced on Twitter, which prompted a response from Donald Trump.
“Is this even possible to believe? Can this be real?” the president wrote. “Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?”
The 75-year-old man from the Westwood Rehabilitation Nursing Centre in Detroit is being treated in a local hospital after being repeatedly punched in the face by another patient, who appeared to film the attack in two clips posted to Twitter.
The woman who first noticed the video and alerted police said that if the Detroit nursing home had been receiving visitors, action might have been taken sooner.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has implemented some of the US’s strictest coronavirus lockdown measures, which forbid elderly nursing home patients from having family visit.
“It absolutely shattered my heart. It just broke my heart how anyone could be capable of this kind of brutality,” Joann Uhler, told Detroit’s FOX 2, which reported the video was taken on 15 May.
“Honestly I think if they were receiving visitors this would have been addressed a lot quicker than something like this having to evolve on Twitter.”
Detroit police Chief James Craig said the nursing home was unaware of the attack until seeing the video, which currently has almost three million views on Twitter.
“What our investigation has revealed so far was the nursing home was unaware of an assault until they saw the video,” Mr Craig said.
“We’re still investigating that aspect of the case, but there is a suspect in custody.”
Detroit police thanked the public for alerting it to the video, which has led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man who was also a patient at the nursing home.
“Thank you to everyone for your assistance in bringing the senior home incident to our attention,” the department said on Twitter. “The @detroitpolice is investigating the situation, and an arrest has been made.
In a statement to The Independent, the law firm representing Westwood said that nursing home staff turned the alleged attacker in the video over to police on Thursday morning.
“He is not a long-term resident of Westwood, but he was recently admitted for recovery and rehabilitation purposes on a temporary stay,” attorney Saif Kasmikha, or Midwest Legal Partners, said in the statement.
“Westwood has been cooperating with the police and will continue to do so.”