Mason County Deputy Mike Fort: Escalate, Unlawfully Incarcerate, Humiliate

This story originated from an odd incident from the weekend's Mason County Sheriff's Office (MCSO)report where it was noted that a woman rider of a stopped vehicle was arrested on attempted Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP) charges and resisting/opposing a police officer after allegedly trying to kick out the back window of the sheriff's car.  What was suspiciously missing was the reason why this rider of the vehicle was in the backseat in the first place.

But the Sheriff's report story was incomplete for a reason, as suspected.  What was left out of the story was that the driver of the vehicle was a Michigan State Police Trooper, named Sammy Sidney Seymour, who was driving an acquaintance and his sister, Kimberly Septrion, home after a night at a downtown Ludington bar.  The cover-up of such information about the driver in the MCSO report was suspicious, as was what caused the eventual release to local media after the censored MCSO report was already out there.

This concerned citizen immediately requested police reports and dash-cam video from the two police agencies involved that night, including the Ludington Police Department (LPD), via FOIA requests, the citizen's means of getting a truer story from agencies that rely on sending vague reports to the regular media as their usual means of news disclosure. 

What was received from the LPD was interesting.  Suffice it to say that the story of the MSP Trooper being pulled over after erratically driving without lights and being tested at nearly .14 BAC, almost twice what the legal limit for driving in Michigan (which is .08), was interesting enough.  It shows that this 15 year road patrol veteran who teaches classes at the local community college, had erred badly in his judgment that night. 

But even so, it wasn't the big story of that encounter that involves the impropriety of the police involved.  This involved the trooper's sister (pictured left at her booking that night) and her treatment by Trooper Seymour's fellow law enforcement officers that clearly establish that County Deputy Mike Fort violated her basic rights guaranteed under law. 

This rogue deputy's actions have led to the serious injury of the reportedly drunk 44 year old woman, who may now face imprisonment for several trumped-up felonies and the loss of her job at the hospital ER after she was taken there against her wishes by Deputy Fort for the injuries he and other units inflicted on her after he unlawfully imprisoned her.  The evidence is available not only in the footage of the encounter below (which is hampered by the fact that almost all action happens outside camera range and that the deputy left his classic rock radio on), but in the reports of the officers present. 

In the deputy's report, 2015 01-17 Dpy Fort MCSO.pdf, Fort admits to hearing and seeing things from inside his vehicle which would have almost been impossible from his vantage point and with his radio on.  This prompts him to exit the vehicle (without activating his dash cam yet) and to come up from behind the woman who is admittedly following the command of the other officer to get away from the police vehicle.  None of the three officers present say she actually even touched the vehicle, Fort's admits she was only reaching for the door, presumably to talk with her brother, whom she wouldn't know had been arrested at that point.

Without any warning, Deputy Fort seizes Septrion from behind, and led her to his car where she 'agrees to' go into the back of his car.  This conflicts a bit with the LPD report, where another responding officer from LPD admits to Fort asking for extra assistance in putting Septrion in the back of the car.  Odd that it takes three officers to get her in when she agrees to it, but at this point the rider was in the backseat of the car, without any of the officers giving her any reason why even in their reports, and without there being any reasonable reason why.

Just after this point, Deputy Fort finally turns on his dash-cam but for some reason, the camera usually pointed to the backseat is not on and his car radio is blaring the Stone's "Beast of Burden".  While the refrains of "Am I hard enough?  Am I rough enough?" and "Ain't I tough enough?" play, the reportedly inebriated middle-aged woman is extracted from the vehicle by all three officers, taken down hard to the pavement, where the right side of her face gets a bad case of road rash, she suffers a cut above her lip, and gets one of her teeth chipped. 

Justification for the brutality is not only given in Fort's report, but also by him while on the way to the hospital to check out her injuries.  In the video, listen to Nurse Septrion plea with the county deputy to not take her to the hospital to suffer the humiliation of being treated for the police- malpractice inflicted that night on her.  Listen in disbelief when the deputy says that he hoped she liked her job (past tense), as they approach her worksite. 

Before that, listen to tin-plated God Mike Fort decree that he is her rights and give other faulty interpretations of the law throughout his narrative.  A full transcript up to the point to where she gets to the hospital is provided after the video, disclosed by the MCSO to this citizen.  Even though Fort describes her as refusing to get out of the vehicle at the hospital in his report, the video once again shows that he is mistaken.  The woman who 'agreed' to get in the car with the help of three officers tries to get out by herself until Fort tries his best to show his fellow deputy that she was resistive, after telling them a skewed version of events.  Heroically jerking the cuffs behind her as she compliantly walks toward the hospital entrance.

Some words are indecipherable in the recording, I have done my best to transcribe it.  Where two people are talking at the same time (cross talk) will be used to denote neither side is clear, otherwise it will be labelled (unintelligible) or (unint.).  Time references are used at certain points as are some sounds and other descriptions. 

Unknown Officer (UO)(0:52 in):  Do that again and go to jail.  You understand me?

Kim Septrion (KS):  No...

UO:  (unintelligible) Do it again and see what happens.

KS:  I wanna talk.  I wanna talk.  I'm not given the right to talk?

UO:  Well, Ma'am, when you try to open the door on a police car and (unint.) the officer tells you to stop and you don't.

KS:  (unint.) I get, I have not... yeah (sound of door closing) Shut the f**king door.

KS:  (2:00 in) You giving me, giving me my fourth (amendment) rights.

Deputy Fort (DF):  Wait until I'm done with you.  When I walk up on scene and you're trying to open the door on someone who is under arrest (cross talk).  And when an officer tells you to stop and you refuse to do so, and I have to restrain you (cross talk) and I have to hold you against my car until you decide to behave like a lady in the backseat of my car. You're lucky you're not handcuffed now lady, and you're lucky I have not writ (?) you up for banging on my window.  I don't deal with that crap. I don't care if you've been drinking all night long, you need to learn to control yourself.

Your rights are no longer (part) of the situation:  I am your rights.  I tell you what to do right now, I tell you where to go right now.

Until we're done with this traffic stop, you're going to sit here and keep your mouth shut.  And if you touch my car one more time, you're going to jail.  IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?...  Yes or no?... Yes or no, young lady?  Am I going to treat you like a five year old now?  You understand me?  (no reply, car rattles shortly thereafter at 3:30 in)  Alright, you're going to jail!

KS:  (door opens, scuffle noises throughout) Oh, don't be an a$$hole.  No... you.

UO (two or more):  F**king... f**k... f**k that (melee noises, cross talk until 5:20 in)

KS: My clothes are caught in the door (unint.) you broke my tooth.

UO: Stupid, very stupid.  Open your mouth. (KS sobs and officers talk out of range, DF enters vehicle starts it at 8:50 in).

DF:  Are you going to keep your feet on the ground or do I have to hobble you.  Did you hear me?  You have to keep your feet on the ground or I will hobble you.  (pause) We have to get you to the hospital to have your face looked at.

KS:  No, I don't want to go, please, I don't want to go.

DF:  I don't care.

KS:  Please; who are you?

DF:  I am Deputy Fort (cross talk).

KS:  Please, don't take me to the hospital.

DF:  Why not?  You work there?  (presumably she nods)  I'm sorry, but you need to follow directions, young lady.

KS:  I was just a passenger.

DF:  Yeah, but you decided to act foolishly (cross talk).

KS:  What did I do?  (unint. by DF)  Yeah, because I don't know what I did.

DF:  You got out of the car; you were told to stay in the car, OK.  (cross talk) ah, ah, let me talk.  Allow me to answer the question, OK?  You were told to stay in the car, you decided to get out of the car to grab the door which the other individual is sitting in, who is under arrest,

and then when the other officer told you to stop, you decided to back away from him.  And when I grabbed you, you decided you wanted to pull away

(unint.) you're lucky you weren't in handcuffs then.

KS:  Cause I was desperate (?).

DF: But you were the passenger and I was trying to give you a fair chance to get out of that situation (cross talk). 

When you fail to follow a direct order from a police officer, you are wrong.

KS:  What direct order did I (not follow)?

DF:  Stay in the car... when I tell you to sit silent in my car and not kick the window once, but twice, then you kick my door, and then you kick (cross talk)  I have a video camera.

KS:  Do you?

DF:  There, right up there.  (I have this) videotaped.

KS:  Really.

DF:  (unint.)

You're being charged with a felony right now.  I hope that you liked the job that you got.

KS:  I work in the ER.

Deputy Fort: I hope you liked it.

KS:  What?

Has Mason County Sheriff Deputy Mike Fort (above, far left) got your goat, please contact his boss, Sheriff Kim Cole at (231) 843-3475 or by email at  Hold the Fort accountable.

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Her immediate concern is to keep her job and her freedom, and one can hope she hires an out-of-town attorney that can defend her criminal charges and one that can represent her to go after the perpetrator and the office that defends such behavior. 

The prosecutor of this county will likely go after Nurse Septrion despite of what the facts are, unless we can get enough pressure on the person guilty of several crimes that night while acting under color of the law while on the job, Deputy Mike Fort.  One day it would be nice if Ms. Septrion could say to him:  "I hope you liked that job that you had."

I know how difficult it is to deal with drunk people from my cab driving days in a land far far away. You never know what they are going to do. I don't condone the rough treatment by the police but she should have stayed in her car, then none of this would have happened so she shares a lot of the blame for this situation. I do believe she has a good case for a lawsuit because nowhere on the tape is she read her rights. If she was not under arrest then she should have been free to leave.  The police should not have taken her to the hospital against her will. The comments from the police officer were entirely inappropriate. He would have done well to keep his mouth shut. The police have got to do a better job recording their encounters with the public. I would be interested to find out what the other women saw.

Another great job of reporting a story. Without your efforts we would have never known about the details.

I agree she did not deserve to be slammed to the ground, however, we all know that if you challenge the cops, no matter if you're right or wrong, you're asking for trouble. Her only recourse now is to deal with the courts unless the police decide to drop the charges, which I'm sure they won't do. I'm not a fan of the police because I know what a mind game it is to be one. Many of them are in it for the action while others want the feel of the power they wield over others. There are those who started the job with good intentions but many of those officers can turn cynical in short order and they end up considering all citizens as potential criminals and treat them as such.

Unfortunately, I can't share Wietrzykowski's video because of the format; I may try and take a video while playing it on the big screen.  It shows that Officer W. leads Sammy back to the patrol car, where he presumably takes him in the back and formally arrests him after he refuses the tests.  He then heads back to the car, where he opens the front door to investigate and secure the open beverage, this is when Septrion leaves the vehicle heads back to presumably talk with Sammy. 

She may have had several legitimate reasons to do so, none of which would change the outcome of the traffic violation.  She had lost her ability to get home, and she didn't know what was happening with her brother at that point.  Officer W. had chosen the proper path of trying to verbally control the situation, and likely would have been successful without the initial attack by Deputy Fort, who by all accounts went directly into aggressive action absent any reason to. 

So, whereas I concur that drunk people can act randomly and unexpectedly, nothing is noted in the reports or in the existing footage of her doing so-- only the actions of Deputy Fort seem random and unexpected.

Everyone's goals in a free society should be at least to accept nothing less than the truth and ethical behavior from our officials.  I reciprocate the thanks expressed to me back at you and everyone else who can comprehend what is often reported here for believing your own senses over the words of the local officials and media.  Too many people have lost this ability in this day and age to tell the difference. 

Hopefully she won't lose her job over this. As said , hire a out of town legal team and sue big time. And as they say : SEND A MESSAGE!!!

This audio is very annoying. The most annoying part is that the country/oldies radio station is blasting away. Since when do the cops have a duty to listen to this, when they have important communications on the police radio coming and going? This is unprofessional and out of order imho. I also didn't like the threat of being hobbled. To hobble is to tie a horses legs together, like hog-tying. Is that allowed? Deputy Fort also could have handled this situation a lot better, with some psychological talk, but that wasn't in his agenda obviously. There is enough wrongs on both sides to go around more than once too. Kim sure did get battered though, whether the cops think she had it coming or not. Look at her face. She has severe skid marks from the pavement in three places, a cut lip, and chipped teeth, all way over the bounds of reasonableness. And that's just the face, there probably are other marks on her body we didn't witness. She might have a court case indeed, but not in Mason County. She will have to get a new venue if she expects to get any fair hearing and sympathy, cause it aint going to happen in the same town at all, that's a given.

Here's what I found even more irritating about the videos rather than the classic rock soundtrack that plays over the brutalization of Kim Septrion.  Even though Deputy Fort and and Officer Skiba both come on scene after the stop, and initially see some interesting action going on, both do not turn on their dash cams until much later when the main scuffles with Septrion take place where reports seem to differ.  It appears very suspicious of a cover up , and the in-car camera policy was likely violated by the two law enforcers.

Skiba's vehicle parks behind both vehicles and starts recording after 2:30 AM, opening with passenger Smith already in the back seat, this was well after his arrival.  Fort's didn't turn on until the simple assault and unlawful imprisonment were already accomplished on her.  Video of the backseat in Fort's car were non-existent, even though he had the capability (to my knowledge).  The video from Wietrzykowski's car has the only record of it, which happens off camera, with an unclear audio.  The best you can see from the video is shadow dancing and struggling. 

If Ms. Septrion looks to launch a civil complaint, she would not be doing it locally, as it would be based on Federal issues.  It looks very compelling if she does, and if her attorney is competent, she will at least get paid from the County, and maybe the City a fair sum.  If she loses her job from the blowback and suffers physical or mental health issues as a result, she will make out well indeed. 


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