Detroit police video shows official cussing, grabbing cop

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Pennsylvania's Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner and her husband Khari Mosley speak about their encounter with police while on a trip to Detroit, in their home, Saturday March 9, 2019, in Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Wagner and Mosley were in Detroit for a concert. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Detroit — A Pittsburgh-area elected official cursed at police officers and grabbed an officer's forearms before he pushed her away and she fell to the floor during an altercation at a Detroit hotel, according to police video of the incident reviewed by The Detroit News.

Wayne County prosecutors said Monday they are reviewing a warrant request seeking assault charges against Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner after the March 6 incident in the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit.

"A charging decision is not expected today," assistant prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement Monday.

Wagner's attorney Heather Heidelbaugh told The News last week that police were the aggressor in the incident, which started a few minutes after midnight when hotel security reportedly called police because Wagner's husband, Khari Mosley, was being loud in the hotel bar.

Wagner and Mosley were in Detroit for a concert. Afterward, Wagner went to their room while Mosley went to the hotel bar. According to Detroit police Chief James Craig, police were called after Mosley became "loud and belligerent." 

When Mosley told officers he was a hotel guest, they asked him for identification. His surname is different from his wife's so police put him in the back of a squad car and then went to Wagner's room to verify his story, Craig said.

On Saturday, Wagner released cellphone video to WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh and told the station she felt threatened by the Detroit officers. Police video reviewed by The News shows additional parts of the interactions between the couple and officers.

Heidelbaugh did not immediately return a phone call Monday seeking comment about the police footage but Wagner and Mosley issued a statement through a public relations firm saying “our rights were grossly violated.”

“After returning from Detroit, we scheduled time late Friday evening and all day Saturday to meet one on one with national and Pittsburgh media outlets to share our story,” the statement reads. “While our response is fully stated in those interviews, we want to reiterate that our rights were grossly violated as guests of the Westin hotel and visitors to the city of Detroit.

“We look forward to being fully vindicated on these matters. Presently, we are taking time out to recover and spend time with our children.”

The police video shows officers putting Mosley into a squad car after they removed him from the hotel bar. Officers, accompanied by hotel security, then go to Wagner's room. The door is ajar, so they walk into the room and ask Wagner to verify she knows Mosley.

Wagner doesn't answer at first, but giggles repeatedly, prompting one officer to say, "she's toast," as another cop asks her: "You been drinking?" Wagner continues giggling.

At one point, video shows one of the officers going back to the squad car and letting Mosley out. He immediately raises his hands and says: "Hands up, don't shoot. I'm not a threat." He walks into the hotel lobby, hands still raised, loudly repeating the phrase, "hands up, don't shoot. I'm not a threat." 

An officer asks, "why you got to be so loud?" and one of the black officers says something indecipherable to Mosley and calls him "brother," to which Mosley replies: "Y'all treated me like a second-class citizen. Don't even come with that brother (expletive). Y'all didn't treat me like an African American who's been here for 400 years. Detroit is bull (expletive.) Don't come at me with that (expletive). What the (expletive) is going on here in Michigan?"

A hotel security guard asks the police to kick Mosley out of the hotel. "We've got guests who are waking up," the guard says.

Wagner comes out of her room wearing a University of Chicago jersey and reaches toward one of the officers, who tells her: "Don't touch me." She begins cussing at the officer.

"I'm the highest-ranking elected official in my county," Wagner tells the cop, who replies, "I'm not in your county."

Another officer tells Wagner that hotel security wants her husband kicked out of the hotel, and then asks her: "Would you like to leave with him? He's got to go."

Wagner takes a step forward, and is seen on video reaching out and grabbing an officer's arms as she says: "No, no, this is my hotel."

"Ma'am, why are your hands on me?" the officer asks. "You're on camera."

"This is my hotel room," Wagner repeats multiple times. "Please Tase me."

Mosley then enters the picture and Wagner tells him, "please sit down," then continues arguing with the officers. At one point, an officer pulls out his yellow Taser stun gun, but holsters it.

An officer says of Wagner: "We're done talking to her. She don't want to behave." He then walks Mosley, whose hands are cuffed behind his back, down the hotel corridor. Wagner follows, filming with her phone.

Police footage then shows Wagner partially blocking the elevator entrance as police lead her husband toward it.

"Would you move out of our way, please, ma'am?" one of the cops asks. The video shows Wagner reaching out and grabbing the officer's forearms. He says, "Ma'am, you put your hands on me; now you have to go to jail." She replies: "Good."

As Wagner grapples with the cop, her husband stands nearby, saying: "Chelsa, they're bugging out. Chill."

After a brief struggle, the cop appears to shove Wagner away, and she falls to the ground. She screams, "I just want to know the reason you just assaulted me. I want my attorney ... let me tell you something: I'm the highest-ranking (expletive) female elected official ... I've never been arrested."

The officer handcuffed Wagner and took her away. When Mosley asks him why his wife is being detained, the cop replies, "She assaulted me. If you get an attorney, subpoena the video."

The officer again tells Mosley that Westin staff want him to leave the hotel. He tells them he'll find another place to sleep.

Wagner's attorney told The News he rented a room at a hotel across the street, and that Wagner spent a few hours in the Detroit Detention Center on Mound on Detroit's east side.
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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN