This is the first of at least three parts of a true ongoing story about a small-town policeman named Michael Gilmurray and his unlawful hounding and persecution of a local woman named Janice Masters.  As the two main characters in this article exploring their own characters, an introduction to both is warranted.  

Ludington Police Department's Michael Gilmurray has been an officer for about a handful of years gaining some notoriety along the way.  The Ludington Torch has featured his videos (or at least stills) from his body cam five times already, review downtown domesticDevon 1.0Devon 2.0Bay of Pigs Invasion and innocent child arrest, the latter of which I saw firsthand.  Unlawful arrests, excessive force, missing footage, and violated LPD policies are common threads in these articles portraying the shortcomings of him and other LPD officers.  

Officer Gilmurray has a propensity of being the go-to man when the department is making arrests due to his physique (as seen in his 'fitness' picture from a few years back rocking the turquoise shorts) and the no-nonsense demeanor we have seen in prior videos.  It is not uncommon to see steroid use among such individuals, even more so when they get off the competitive circuit to maintain their gains, and such use can lead to aggressive behaviors or even 'roid rage'.  As we have seen in the prior videos, Gilmurray has a tendency to display macho pugnacity that leaves a blind spot for him where department protocols, statutes, and his duty to preserve the rights of others are concerned.  I have experienced this firsthand in a traffic stop where two subsequent legal actions have wound up with his side losing twice, with a costly third one to come.  

Back in 2020, our co-star, Janice Masters, was working as one of our local medical heroes when the Covid pandemic came around.  Her career as a medical assistant in Ludington was put on hold in the early months of that event since few surgeries were being performed and she found herself as a single mom, laid off, and having a hard time getting unemployment in June when a local TV station featured her ordeal in a story.  More hardships occurred when she would find her love interest, who had a career of multiple domestic violence offences, be arrested that same month for a felonious assault.

That arrest would directly lead to later problems for Janice after she finally got her unemployment and then her old job back over time, then a lucrative stint managing a home for the disabled, this would lead up to her first encounters with Officer Gilmurray, and the ensuing loss of her job due to an odd sequence of events and will be featured in part 3 of this story.  Part two, will feature an uncomfortable traffic stop where Officer Gilmurray targets Ms. Masters as a passenger in a car driving totally within the law.  

Like any good trilogy, each successive chapter should expand and improve upon the prior chapter.  To do that in this case, we believe it's best to look at the most recent incident and work our way back.  To make this possible, however, we will have to sometimes grab facts from what has happened previously in 'flashbacks' to the other chapters. 

So now that introductions to the characters and their presentment in this trilogy has been made, let's take a look at part 1, where the two main characters will be developed as they are the only ones in it that have speaking and acting parts.  For it's setting, we go back to Sunday, December 18, 2022, a mere week before Christmas, two vehicles traveling south on Madison Street in Ludington, the lead car occupied solely by Ms. Masters, the latter a police car driven by Officer Gilmurray.  

As events unfold, both cars stop and Gilmurray's body cam's audio kicks in with the video showing early on that the car being driven by Masters lacks a license plate, so there is clear justification for this traffic stop on that fact alone.  The early banter shows that both parties are familiar with each other, and now we offer the body cam presentation, followed by a transcription and analysis of what transpired and how Gilmurray's actions were either against LPD policy, the law, or a clear violation of Ms. Masters' right.  Applicable pages of the LPD policy manual will be shown throughout.

Officer Michael Gilmurray:  The reason I stopped you was that you were moving kinda fast and you got a headlight out.

Janice Masters:  Yeah I just hit a deer, I just came from the hospital

MG:  Just came from the hospital?  What were you doing over there?

JM:  I took someone into the hospital-- I hit a deer, I have insurance on it, I just don't have a plate on it.  This is all the paperwork... because they title jumped. (hands over envelope with papers)

MG:  You have insurance, you have proof of insurance?  It's in here somewhere?

JM:  Yeah, and then the title's there because they title jumped and tried to get ahold of the people that I got the car from to have them fix the title.

MG:  OK, so you come from the hospital, who did you drop off at the hospital?

JM:  DeAndre.

MG:  Winston?  What's going on with him?

JM:  He's not feeling good.

MG:  Not feeling good?  Gotcha, OK, just sit tight for a moment-- is there anything in the vehicle that I should know about?

JM:  No.

Analysis:  At this point in the stop, the officer has a couple of infractions he can write on a citation (improper registration and non-functional headlight) and no other articulated suspicion about any other law violation.  It appears by this question that he is interested in what's in the vehicle, but we'll never find out what he plans on finding by a search, as he never offers probable cause, required for a warrantless search unless consent is freely given.

MG:  Weapons, drugs, guns, anything like that?

JM:  No

MG:  So if a dog came out here and ran around the vehicle?

JM:  Not that I'm aware of I just bought it.

MG:  Not that you are aware of?  Would you consent to a search then?

JM:  I guess... well actually no, why would you want to search?

Analysis:  A good question by Ms. Masters.  Gilmurray has yet to articulate any cause for a vehicle search, just like he hadn't had one for the October 2022 search of her friends car and her belongings.  Masters has no prior drug or weapons charges against her, prosecuted or not, nor is there any hint of her doing either here.  A good officer at this point would move along to checking on the offered papers to sort it out, but this one presses into dangerous ground, as she has denied consent to search and he really wants to:

MG:  OK I'll put you from the vehicle for a moment...

JM:  Alright...?

MG:  I'll put you in mine until everything's done (opens JM's door)

JM:  What are you doing?

Analysis:  Officer Gilmurray's opening of the door without any exigent circumstances or consent seems to qualify as an unlawful search according to law, and this is the first violation of Masters' Fourth Amendment rights, and against LPD policy.  He threatens also to detain Masters by putting her into his vehicle, an unlawful detention and/or arrest, while he does his illegal warrantless search anyway.  With two minor civil infractions involving a headlight and registration, Gilmurray lifts Masters out of the car and ushers her back towards his vehicle to fulfill his threat.

MG:  I'll talk to you back here.  Who did you buy the vehicle from?

JM:  I bought it in Muskegon off Facebook.

MG:  You bought it in Muskegon off of Facebook?  OK, you can leave it just come back here.

JM:  Why...

MG:  Because I'm asking you to.  Do you have anything on you?  (phone?) Nope, no, we're not going back to the vehicle at this point.

JM:  My lawyer told me that if you did this that I was supposed to call her.

MG:  OK, that's fine, but you're not going back to the vehicle at this point, you're already out of the car, we're not going to go back in it until I'm done.  OK.

Analysis:  An unlawfully detained Masters asks to speak with her lawyer before this goes any further, a right that is denied by Gilmurray.  Masters and her attorney expected this potentiality from Gilmurray's obsessive behavior during her other encounters with him.  Masters is on her own, at the mercy of somebody who has already trampled on her Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights over some unarticulated suspicion.

JM:  Can you go in it and get my phone?

MG:  Um, no, not right now, so... you're going to consent to me going into the vehicle?

JM:  (Resignedly) Yeah, go ahead I don't care, I have nothing to hide.

Analysis:  Clearly consent was gained only through coercion, detainment, and implied threats made by an officer who has already violated many rules; consent to search is valid only if the search is “voluntary” which means it was free of coercion or duress. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, (1973).

MG:  No, you're fine, Janice, how many times have I worked with you before?  Do you have anything in your pockets at all?

JM:  Yeah, a piece of paper

MG:  Do you mind if I search you before I put you in the back of my car, just for my safety?  You're good, so you get a good deal on the vehicle?

Analysis:  Gilmurray would conduct more than a stop and frisk 'for his safety' of Masters allowed by the Terry decision.  He will have her unzip her pockets as he otherwise feels her up, having still given no reason for detainment of the vehicle or its driver.

JM:  I think so... then I hit a deer and messed up the front end so that's

MG:  On the way back from Muskegon today?

JM:  No, the other day.

MG:  That's not good luck then.

JM:  I've never had these problems before, until recently.

MG:  Recently, why is that?

JM:  Because you always think that I'm causing trouble or whatever.

MG:  I didn't say you're causing trouble, here can you just unzip that all the way for me, I'm sorry, I just noticed you have pockets right there.  OK, left side here, perfect.  Alright, stop in here stay warm and I'll get you underway here in a second... You still working over in Scottville?

Analysis:  Before Officer Gilmurray entered her life, Masters was assisting in many surgeries happening at the local hospital, managing a care facility.  After a sham felony investigation conducted by Gilmurray, her career ended because of the implications, but the officer doesn't want to take credit for that as he feels around her body, unlawfully unzipping her clothes.  

JM:  No-- You're not?- No-- why not?-- I lost my job when you put me in jail.

MG:  What's that?  (repeat)  I, you, when I put you in jail?  I didn't put you in jail.  I came and got you but I don't think that was my case.

JM:  I think it was. (her responses are low volume here out)

MG:  Oh was it?  OK.  Well, it's all about learning a lesson right?  Did you get those other people out of your house?  I know you had people staying there-- oh they left, did you have to evict them?  

Analysis:  The lesson learned is that this officer seems a bit creepy.  He wrote the report of a one-sided investigation that will never be successfully prosecuted against the woman whose rights he will violate multiple times on this and the prior traffic stop, violating LPD policies often along the way.  With her in the back of his car, he proceeds to add to his unlawful and unethical practices.

Gilmurray moves out shortly thereafter to search the vehicle thoroughly, going through the center console as her phone rings, looking all through her wallet (8:15), her purse at 8:45, finds a loose pill at 9:10 in the purse.  He comes back to the patrol car and identifies the pill as her prescription drug.  Then Captain Haveman arrives, Gilmurray tells him that he is about 1/4 through the vehicle search and goes back to searching.

He does retrieve her cigarettes, but not her cell phone.  he looks through her wallet again very meticulously.  Opens trunk looks through side panels in earnest, but not in a long cardboard box. In the backseat he also doesn't look through an Amazon box, but looks meticulously inside a bag of things.  He finishes shortly after looking for secret compartments around instrument panel.

Analysis:  Gilmurray had only coerced consent for 'going into the vehicle', not even coerced consent was given for the meticulous searches through her purse and wallet multiple times.  For that matter, every search within that car that opened a panel, console or glove box was also improper, a violation of the federal and state constitutional rights of Janice Masters and blatant violation of LPD policies witnessed by both the cameras and Gilmurray's superior, Captain Haveman.

The aftermath would be a complaint registered by Janice Masters with the LPD, quickly dismissed by Captain Haveman as a completely proper traffic stop with completely proper search procedures conducted by Officer Michael Gilmurray.  We have seen the video, we have looked at the LPD police procedures, we know the protections given to us by the state and federal Constitutions, we know better.

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Can't believe this. Is that picture for real? I hope JM nails this so-called officer to the rickety cross he has fallen off. Despicable police behavior right here in hometown. X, thanks for advocating for JM ( whom i do not know), ... and on the principle of advocating for justice. I hope JM gets vindication monetarily to set her up from wrongs by Gilmurray at least double.

Picture is for real and from 2017, the one above with MG on the far right is from 2015.  Thanks for using only 'despicable' to describe his behavior for this installment, you will need to come up with a few more adjectives synonymous with this word when you see the next two parts.  Plan on running with part two next week. 

Ok. I'll work on de-adjectives. For now may I say that the full-bodied denuded photo with bikini is descusting with the fake tan and steroid-looking buggy eyes.

I have to give him credit for keeping in shape but after looking at the photo again i recognized a major mistake made by the photographer. It is the responsibility of the photographer to always be aware of the background of the subject. I'm not pointing this out to make fun of Officer Gilmurry but to inform photographers of how their photos may turn out especially if they are put on the internet.

Officer, write that man up for indecent exposure; doctor get that man a treatment for Peyronie's disease.  Or maybe that's just the tail of the monkey on his back.

Peyronie's disease? Funny.

It's obvious that she is being targeted by this wanna be Sherlock Holmes. Even tho Ludington is a small town It sure is curious that he just happened  to run into her. He should be fired for stalking and harassing her and he definitely was  thorough because he performed everything except a cavity search. This guy is trouble and it's very clear he has the backing of his bosses.  This is why people cannot trust Ludington's police dept. On the other hand I guess she is lucky that he didn't call 5 other officers to the scene and had her beaten to death.

X. I like how you are presenting this as a 3 chapter article. Your analysis is right on the money. Can't wait to read "the rest of the story".

Frankly, I think that it would be extra confusing if I tried to make this into one or even two articles rather than by doing it episodically, according to three events that happened months apart, so thanks for the affirmation. 

I think even the LPD is figuring out that they are going to be in trouble soon; I made a FOIA request for supplementary information to be used for part 3-- effectively stuff that would already have been provided to both the prosecutor and Ms. Masters through discovery in her defense-- and was given a price tag of nearly $200 to pay for the information! 

Apparently, separating exempt information out of police reports already pre-exempted takes many many hours of labor by LPD's crack staff in 2023.  Welcome to the Mayor Barnett era, aka Henderson era 4.0.

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