Ingham County's prosecutor has ruled that Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was not, in fact, a victim of an attack by pro-union protesters who rallied against the December passage of Michigan's right-to-work legislation.
The Michigan State Police, which investigated the incident, said on Tuesday that Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III decided March 8 not to press charges against an IBEW union member who was photographed and filmed threatening, then punching the conservative comedian and actor in the face. The skirmish took place outside the Americans for Prosperity tent, which had collapsed during the December rally an attracted a crowd of some 10,000 people in the area around the Capitol.
Dunnings reviewed two versions of video that depicted Crowder getting slugged. One of the videos, shared on YouTube, garnered national headlines with terms such as "union thug" and went viral as Fox News commentators used the footage to criticize the beleaguered labor movement.
An unedited version of the incident showed the union member getting up off the ground swinging.
"It's pretty clear the person that they wanted to charge was acting in self-defense," Dunnings told the Lansing State Journal of the union member who apparently slugged Crowder.
The prosecutor's office did not return phone calls Tuesday morning to comment, but State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said both versions of video were submitted to Dunnings' office.
"The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office did review our report and has decided not to authorize charges," Banner said.
Crowder immediately following the incident challenged his alleged attacker on the "Sean Hannity Show" and "Fox & Friends" to either come forward to face charges or to participate in a legal mixed martial arts bout.
A Fox News spokeswoman said the network had no way to reach Crowder on Tuesday. Attempts to reach him via Facebook, Twitter and email were not immediately successful.