ALPENA, MI – It started on August 2nd, 2014 at Walmart on M-32 in Alpena. It has been over a year now that Blayne Casler has been attempting to clear his name for charges of Resisting Arrest and Attempted Assault on a Police Officer.
The charge of Attempted Assault on a Police Officer is a felony charge. Michigan law states that:
a:) An individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties causing a bodily injury requiring medical attention or medical care to that person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
b:) An individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties causing a serious impairment of a body function of that person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
c:) An individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties causing the death of that person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both.
The following was posted to YouTube with video from Walmart surveillance of the incident. There is no audio that accompanies the video, so it can be difficult to know what words were actually exchanged between the officers and Casler.
The video is entitled ‘Police Brutality in Alpena Michigan‘:
Me (in the black) and my friend (in the white) go to Walmart for drano. During this trip, someone notices that my friend is wearing his firearm on his hip. She gets scared of the weapon, even though it is legally its holster at all times and calls the police to report someone going into Walmart with a firearm.
Dispatch asks the woman if he was brandishing the firearm. In case you don’t know what brandishing means, it means to wave around. So the police arrive on scene with the thought that someone is waving around a gun. I’m sure at this point they would be worried for the safety of the public because there is a firearm involved.
Upon arrival, the police scope out the place and talk to people to try and find us, at this point me and my friend leave with drano, he can be seen carrying the drano out of the store in the video, the police spot us. The immediatley tell us to turn around and put our hand up, mine they told to put on the pole. We both comply.
I ask “are we under arrest/am I under arrest” the police officer responds with “No” (both officers are very stern and commanding) I drop my hands and laugh because of the ridiculousness and look at my friend. As soon as I laugh, several seconds after putting my hands down, police officer Smith grabs my wrist and twists it behind my back, wrenching my body to turn toward the store. He pushes up on my wrist in an effort to hurt my shoulder or arm and this pushes my body forward in the direction of the building. Officer Hoyt then jumps and and put one arm around my neck and puts my other arm behind my body. I ask again if I am under arrest with no response.
I see that my face is unprotected and that they are going to force me to the ground. I attempt to avoid going face first into the ground although the force of both officers slam me into the pavement. Hoyt jumps to slam his knee into the back of my head, bouncing my skull off of the pavement. They begin to roll me, my hands are up and at this point I am just trying to protect myself from head trauma from the ground/officer Hoyt. They roll me on top of my hands with both of their body weight on top of me. At this point I am trying to get the attention of others around me so someone would see what was happening. Officer Hoyt then forcefully covers my mouth with his hand and says “shut up, shut the F#$% up”. I am baffled at this moment that my rights have been violated in so many ways. They cuff me.
All the while this is happening, the guy with the gun who was supposedly waving it around, is standing there gun on hip, uncuffed, watching this happen. They did not secure the weapon they had been called on scene for, instead, they tackle and subdue a person walking with the suspect for laughing and asking questions. The guy with the gun gets cuffed and uncuffed in the matter of minutes, although I am jailed with bail for 72 hours on charges consisting of resisting arrest and attempted assault on a police officer. A felony charge. They also tried to charge me with reckless driving for how I pulled into my parking space, a charge that was later dropped for being ridiculous.
The Alpena County Prosecutor, Ed Black, is trying to work out a plea deal with Casler that would not involve jail time.
Was this police brutality or were the officers just doing their job?