Woman says Detroit cops assaulted her; Craig says she was at fault

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, right, and her husband Khari Mosley.

Prosecutors said Friday they are weighing criminal charges against an elected official from Pennsylvania after she had an altercation with police officers at a Detroit hotel.

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner interfered with officers as they were preparing to remove her husband, Khari Mosley, from the premises of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel early Wednesday, according to police Chief James Craig. He said body camera video shows that Wagner grabbed an officer’s jacket and tried to block an elevator.

Wagner, a Democrat, was arrested and spent about 12 hours in jail.

Her lawyer disputed the chief’s account, contending that police assaulted Wagner, a former state representative serving her second term as Allegheny County’s chief fiscal officer. Allegheny County includes Pittsburgh.

Craig said Wagner could face charges that include assault and battery. Prosecutors in Detroit confirmed Friday they have received a “warrant request” for a “Pittsburgh official” but said no decision on charges has been made.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig tells reporters he stands by officer's actions.

“The matter is currently being reviewed,” said a statement from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. “No further information will be released until a charging decision is made.”

Wagner and Mosley were in Detroit for a concert. Afterward, Wagner went to their room while Mosley went to the hotel bar. Chief Craig said officers were called to the Westin by hotel security. He said they escorted Mosley back to his room but returned when the hotel again asked for help to remove him from the premises.

Craig told reporters Friday that Mosley and Wagner “appeared to be under some level of intoxication,” based on his training and his viewing of the body camera video.

The Associated Press left a message requesting comment on Craig’s statement that Wagner appeared to be under the influence with her lawyer, Heather Heidelbaugh.

Heidelbaugh told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Wagner saw her husband in handcuffs and asked officers where they were taking him. She said Wagner tried getting on an elevator ahead of police and her husband. At that point, she said, “the cop grabs her, pulls her out of the elevator and throws her to the ground.”

Craig said the video backs up his account of what happened.

“She grabbed officer’s jacket first; she was interfering and tried to block the elevator,” Craig told The Detroit News. “The officers were being very polite, saying ‘ma’am, please.’ At some point she decided to grab the officer, and he pushed her off him. She started to fall, and the officer tried to grab her to break her fall, because he didn’t want her to be injured.”