Though I only lived a couple of blocks away from him, I had never heard of or seen a local man named Devon Wakelin until I happened upon a Mason County press article telling us all of his arrest.  Most of what happened was described by Captain Steve Wietrzykowski in that article where he explained:

"Wakelin was arrested by Ludington Police Sunday, May 9, 2021 shortly before 6 p.m. near his residence on West Melendy Street, for aggravated assault, damage to police property and obstructing police after firing a BB handgun at a vehicle and then fighting with police during his arrest.  

The police responded to a complaint made by a 41-year-old Ludington man who said he had a dispute with the suspect earlier in the day.  The 41-year-old victim told police he was sitting his car in the 200 block of South James Street when the suspect drove by in a red Chevrolet Cruze. The suspect pointed a handgun at the victim, fired three shots, and drove away. The victim said he heard three BBs strike his car.

Officers later found the suspect (Wakelin) in the 100 block of West Melendy Street.  The officers tried to detain the suspect in order to identify him and complete the investigation, but the man refused to cooperate with police. When officers tried to grab the man’s arms to detain him, he pulled away and called the officers ‘dumb asses.’ The officers then struggled with the man to get him arrested. Both of the officers’ body cams were knocked from their mounts during the struggle. The suspect kicked one of the body cams across the street before being put in the patrol car."

In reading this, I sensed something wrong.  While I could explain my thought processes in forming suspicions, disclosure of those processes would only make future news releases from the Ludington Police Department (LPD) more guarded with what they report publicly.  Suffice it to say, my concerns prompted me to send a FOIA request to the LPD for the incident report along with the dash cam and body cam footage.  This prompted a second suspicious move on LPD's part.

Rather than send me an electronic copy of the incident report and a CD burned with the camera footages for a nominal fee or for free, they wanted to charge me an uncharacteristically high cost for the response, and didn't explain those charges in a reasonable way.  This effectively confirmed that they were wanting to hide something from me.

I immediately sent out a FOIA fee appeal to the city council with the chief and city manager copied to it.  I explained roughly a half dozen ways why it wasn't a proper FOIA response, addressing illegal fees, process, and exclusions in detail, including the fact that the materials I was wanting was assuredly sent to the prosecutor already and could be reproduced for me at little or no cost.  Before the May 24, 2021 meeting, where the city council would introduce the appeal, LPD Chief Tim Kozal approached me and offered me the records, saying that they would need some editing since there were minors caught in the video (this would actually turn out to be a false statement).  

Shortly thereafter, I picked up the incident report and a CD with the videos on.  For some reason, I wasn't able to get the videos to work, so I waited until the June 14th council meeting to ask Chief Kozal whether I could use one of the LPD's computers to look at the videos using my disc.  He agreed to have me come into the station at 10:00 AM the next day.  I observed the videos courtesy of Captain Wietrzykowski's computer, and my suspicions were confirmed.  

Devon Wakelin was being charged with two felonies, resisting and opposing the two involved officers, Officer Michael Gilmurray (pictured below) and Sergeant Michael Haveman who arrived at the scene with separate vehicles.  Carrying two felonies like this could severely harm career opportunities for Wakelin and stay with him for the rest of his life; if the charges were unwarranted, it would mean that the two LPD officers were frivolously trying to ruin a man's life.  And Wakelin's girlfriend's life too, who was also charged with resisting/opposing officers without anything in the police report (or videos) indicating such action ever happened.    

I had a hard time coming to the realization that Sergeant Haveman (pictured below), who has 20 years on the LPD with a record of distinguished service, would allow such a travesty of justice to happen, but it was all there on the videos and Gilmurray's incident report.  Devon Wakelin was forcibly detained and arrested without either officer articulating a reason as to why it was happening.  In the video that wasn't spoiled by the officers, Wakelin shows no signs of resisting, it shows him being assaulted by two officers acting under color of law. 

To Captain Haveman's credit, he wasn't the first officer to aggressively use an unacceptable level of force, rookie Gilmurray made that mistake as seen in the video and the report.  Both officers manhandled Wakelin without even telling him why they were there and why there were assaulting the Ludington citizen.

The unlawful use of force and arrest I seen and read about compelled me to contact Mr. Wakelin immediately and offer any assistance I might be able to give; the abuse of authority was that stark and unacceptable.  I was unsuccessful in getting anything more than an address, so I contacted his girlfriend through social media, hoping she would reply to what I had to say, fully realizing that she was likely not to trust anybody after being charged for a felony when her only action noted in the police report and seen in the videos was telling her boyfriend to not resist the officers.

After expressing my knowledge of the case and my earnest intention to help, I arranged a phone conference once Devon Wakelin came home from work.  Wakelin and Ms. Klastow appear to be otherwise model citizens, holding down respectable jobs and trying to make a living.  It was unfortunate that this incident left these two visitors to Ludington who decided to stay so scared for their lives and distrustful of the local system.

For they were being pressured unfairly by LPD, not only with the frivolous unwarranted charge of resisting and opposing police officers on Ms. Klastow, but on a follow up charge initiated by the LPD claiming that somehow the events of that day included reckless endangerment of a child.  You'll notice that their one year old son Emmitt was in a child seat in the back of Mr. Wakelin's car.  The police report and the videos show that neither officer was worried that day about who was going to take care of Emmitt when he was left in the back seat of Wakelin's vehicle.  Haveman's supplement said that some unidentified person removed the child while they were detaining Wakelin (unlawfully).  Shortly after this incident the couple were visited by CPS, an interview excessively scary to the two parents who saw how corrupted the system was with their encounter with LPD on May 9th.

I also learned that Devon Wakelin had his preliminary hearing in the afternoon of the following day (June 16).  They were both very anxious and nervous about how this incident would affect their lives and the lives of their children, and were almost without hope that they would be able to fight back against the injustice. 

I think both they and I looked at this intersection of our lives as some sort of divine providence, one of those minor miracles where I could acquire the powerful euphoria of righting a serious wrong, while they could once again gain control of their lives and not live in fear from authorities who supposedly protect the good people in society.  I offered advice, hope, a plan, and a pledge to be in court with them to see that they get the justice they deserved.  

Shortly after 1:00 PM on June 16th, the preliminary hearing in Devon Wakelin's case took place in front of 79th District Court Judge John Middlebrook; this would determine whether the two felony charges of resisting and opposing police would be sent to the circuit court for trial over the felonies charged.  Former Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Beth Hand (pictured below) brought forth the state's case against Wakelin.  At times confident, at other times cocky, the experienced prosecutor went over the state's case against Wakelin, putting both officers on the stand to tell what they recalled about what happened that day.  

The problem was that the existing body camera footage contradicted their claims that they told  Wakelin they were detaining him or that they had a reason to detain him in the first place.  Officer Haveman stated they were there to further an investigation into some questionable claims.  This never happened.  Officer Gilmurray's written account reflects that he never articulated any reason for detention before he attacked Wakelin, the videos support that version.   

The defense, led by a court appointed attorney that lacked a certain amount of courtroom gravitas, was able to at least get Judge Middlebrook to look at the videos.  The video clearly showed that contrary to Officer Gilmurray's testimony, that he never told Wakelin why he was there and why he was being detained and arrested without any questions being asked.  Once Wakelin was in the back of the squad car with handcuffs on, he was told that he was under arrest for resisting and opposing.  The rookie would say in court that is what the arrest was for, but wouldn't elaborate on what Wakelin was resisting and opposing when Gilmurray initially assaulted him.  

Two hours later, Judge Middlebrook would come to the proper conclusion that the resisting and opposing charges would be dismissed, that a jury in the circuit court could not be convinced that there was a detainment that took place.  Justice was served in that regard, I was so happy that justice had won, that I almost exploded with joy-- though I admirably kept it within to preserve the court's decorum.  Ms. Klastow had to leave midway to go back to her job in the medical field, but one could tell, even through his mask, that Devon Wakelin was relieved that it was all over.

Prosecutor Beth Hand, who wasted the court's time with the seemingly malicious prosecution, showed a total disdain for what was clearly an unlawful arrest, and tried a couple of side arguments with very little merit after the judgment.  County Prosecutor Lauren Krinebrink better instruct this public official on the basics, as her years of experience in Oakland County appears to have made her deaf and dumb to basic civil rights.

Judge Middlebrook had the opportunity to instruct Officer Gilmurray, who remained in the courtroom, on how unlawfully arresting and aggressing on a person could subject him to civil and criminal penalties and create an environment where people of the community do not trust the police.  Instead, he mildly told him to follow the protocols of detainments in the future in a sentence.  He then went on to give Devon Wakelin a long lecture on why his bad language and insults to police officers (made after his unlawful arrest) was not what he should be doing and could lead to other bad things. 

Excuse me Judge Middlebrook, your honor, but the long lecture should have been given to Prosecutor Beth Hand who took up this bogus charge, wasting the court's precious time, after reviewing the crime-absolving video repeatedly, and another long lecture to Officer Gilmurray, who was the one who should have been facing a preliminary hearing for his unprovoked assault against what turned out to be an innocent victim and may still face a police brutality lawsuit in the future, depending on whether Mr. Wakelin decides to pursue that course.

Another innocent victim is facing another bogus charge of resisting and opposing an officer next week.  If Prosecutor Krinebrink doesn't call that malicious prosecution off, I will be there too, to subtly remind the court that they are wasting time and perverting justice once again.  Do they really need to broadcast further ineptitude when the people are still wondering why they didn't seek CSC 1 charges against Isaiah Gardenhire or protest against the 79th District Court themselves when he was given a $750 bond?

If our public officials cannot resist and oppose injustice by other officials when it rears its ugly head, that duty becomes the purview of good citizens willing to stand up to tyranny and stand alongside their victimized brothers and sisters.  

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  So we have a long story of police misconduct , but was the suspect involved the person who pointed and fired a weapon at the person who made the complaint?  

If you look at the police report, you will notice that they never investigated that allegation, Stump.  

Mind you, I haven't talked with the claimants Tyler Howard or Luis Miguel Florez-Rodriguez, but I conducted a one-sided investigation of the other side and the BB gun claim is complete BS.  This, and LPD malfeasance, is why you don't see a picture of Luis' car showing any kind of damage from a BB gun.  It doesn't exist. 

Lake Lady, when the police do not follow simple rules to assure that every person has their rights guaranteed under the Constitution observed, they become abhorrent to the principles that America is founded on.  Devon Wakelin was a law abiding citizen without a criminal record.  It's unclear why he ran afoul of two 'gentlemen', Luis and Tyler, who do have significant records themselves, but this was clearly an unwarranted assault on a citizen by the police and it needs to be broadcast to the world and beyond so that those police can be kept in check. 

The biggest criminals here are the two police involved, their superiors, and Prosecutor Beth Hand, who all tried to ruin two people's lives just to cover up a crime they initiated.   

  Well if the claimants made up a story , made a false police report of a would be criminal act I would think the police would be knocking on their door looking for proof of said BB  hits to the vehicle. Placing them under arrest.  From the report the police didn't follow protocol but I would give them a little slack as they were looking for a individual who reportedly was firing a weapon at people . This altercation could have went very wrong as we hear on the news almost daily when police shoot someone for just walking away. Law suit on the city police is a good possibility. They just can't walk up to somebody and try to hand cuff you without some explanation. Time for more training, cheaper than law suits.

One of the things you notice on the video is that there is never any mention of a gun (BB or otherwise) during their encounter, and no walking away, only confusion by Wakelin on whether he gets his son out of the car or sees what these officers want.  Unfortunately, the interview with Luis is not on the released videos (probably for a good reason), but I'm fairly sure there was no gun of any type involved, Luis' suspicions notwithstanding.  

Luis' interview and Wakelin's story told to me intersect enough so that both versions as told could be true.  It's odd that Officer Gilmurray would look into a MDOP charge when there is not a destruction of property, and that he nor Haveman would offer any concern about a gun when collapsing in on Wakelin.  Additionally concerning is the absence of any sort of search for a gun on Wakelin's person or car, or any advice from the well-trained Haveman for Gilmurray to back off and follow procedures.  If I could figure out how to post the video on this platform, Youtube or Facebook, I would.

My exact sentiments stump. This all started with a weapons discharge complaint, so where's the weapon and evidence that it was fired and hit a vehicle? Something very fishy going on here. The police and prosecutor need to dig deeper into what happened regarding this incident. Was there bad blood between the parties involved. There needs to be clarity regarding this matter so that the citizens can really know if this incident actually happened or was it a fictitious flash in someones mind. Good mystery X.

Though we all are likely to accept a police report as a factual account of what happened, this isn't always the case.  A report will often reflect facts without overt lies, but I've seen plenty that have left out relevant data (omission) or accounts that didn't happen.  Haveman reported that he heard Gilmurray originally say something about detainment (Gilmurray testified to that himself when pressed), he later testified to that effect; but were they knowingly lying or just forgetting what happened in a chaotic event?  They both were notably nervous when testifying, so my gut feeling is they garnished the incident report. 


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