The headline on the right side of today's City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews) front page may have caught your eye, and had you flip to the back page to find out the full story. But see whether you can determine what the full story is by reading the narrative supplied to reporter Colton Mokofsky by the police:
Did you notice gaps in the official narrative? Someone had called 9-1-1 at around 4:00 in the morning about this nuisance creating a disturbance. The police arrive and try to sort through what's happening, the guy is apparently going through a difficult time and taking his frustration out on others.
But before he has done anything to warrant an arrest, he is put into handcuffs. Note that beyond the resisting arrest charges, the LPD charges him with prowling and disorderly conduct. According to the story, his bizarre conduct does not rise to the level of disorderly conduct, as there is no indication any of the twelve subsections of that law applies here. Likewise, there is no prowling statutes in the state or in the city. Don't believe me? Look it up and be disappointed. The only mention of prowling in state law concerns animals.
So maybe this 35 year old guy shouldn't have been acting like a jackass in the first place, should have known better than to use racial slurs, should have respected the rights of others in that house who undoubtedly just wanted to sleep, but there is nothing in the record supplied by the police to warrant handcuffs being placed on his wrists like they did. People normally take issue with being arrested for no valid reason.
And then the police mention taking the man to the hospital, apparently to be treated for some injury they never specify. As the initial emergency call didn't suggest any injury, it's quite likely the need to go to the hospital arose from the force it needed to get the man into the handcuffs, or perhaps liberties the officers took after the handcuffs were in place, as was alleged in the Joe McAdam arrest and the Travis Malone arrest.
And it appears that he was cooperative until they took him to the hospital. You may recall in the McAdam affair, the same police entities effectively did not allow the arrestee the right to refuse treatment. In that case, they tasered the man repeatedly while he was chained to a gurney after he refused to be treated. We cannot know what was going through this man's head after his false arrest and whatever injury was inflicted on him, but they do admit he did receive treatment, even after he had exhibited behavior that suggests he may not have wanted the treatment.
To me, it looks as if we got another costly over-reaction by the local police to something that could have been defused by officers properly trained and sensitive to the basic civil rights of the people they make contact with every day, and in the middle of the night too.
It appears the staff writer needs some more practice in writing these type of articles. Time to send a FOIA for the police report to find out the rest of the details. I bet Chief Barnett loves seeing your name as much as Chief Barner loves seeing mine.
I don't fault cub reporter Colton Mokofsky for giving an incomplete account of what happened, I fault Chief Barnett for not giving a complete account of what happened in his release. How simple it would have been to lay out a case against the unidentified man without two considerable gaps in continuity. But since the chief left important information out, and Mokofsky didn't follow up to fill in these gaps, I will have to do some follow up investigating myself to see why.
An impression I got from the account: the chief noted that racial slurs were being used (which have nothing to do with the charges), and his police force is lily-white, as is the block where it happened (to my knowledge); this leads me to think the man may have been non-white, which could further complicate the matter. As you note, It does call for a FOIA request, and potentially some victim-advocacy.
Good point X....it must be very difficult to write these articles for the paper without all the information.
Today's Mason County has a little more explanation, and is quite a bit different than the original story. When you take a detour from the road of truth, it's hard to get back on from the ditch. I'm hoping to receive some additional non-official versions of events; it's a shame when they are likely to be more believable.
Mason County Press; “When officers arrived, the suspect had left the scene,” Barnett said.
Ludington Daily News; "...according to Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett. When officers arrived at the house, the suspect was highly intoxicated, slamming doors and breaking numerous objects, police said."
Maybe Barnett is practicing double speak, looking to further his career in Washington DC at the Department of Justice hoping to land one of the recent vacancy's.
From looking at the perp's mug shot it appears he attempted to use his left eye to head butt the officer's nightstick. Seems like a common event locally. It makes one wonder who the officers were this time.
I received the police incident report concerning this incident earlier today. I have talked with Timothy Smogoleski in the interim. Smogoleski's memory of the night isn't that good, but there are some troubling aspects in the police report that are worthy of more analysis, and a little more research.