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Warren councilman to be charged in handcuffing at Trump rally

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

 A Warren city councilman was named in two criminal warrants Wednesday for his alleged actions in handcuffing a woman after she put “Black Lives Matter” stickers on a Trump campaign lawn sign in Eastpointe.

Warren city councilman Eddie Kabacinski holds a flag during a protest at the state Capitol to oppose the executive orders Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, May 14, 2020.

Councilman Eddie Kabacinski is expected to be arraigned this week on charges that he impersonated a police officer and assaulted the 24-year-old Eastpointe woman while handcuffing her arms behind her at an Oct. 14 rally for President Donald Trump.

The warrants, issued by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, are both misdemeanors. Impersonating a police officer is punishable by up to one year in jail and the assault charge carries a 93-day sentence upon conviction.

“We are watching but not certain what impact these charges may have on him and his duties on council,” Warren City Council President Patrick Green said Wednesday. “We will explore what consequences there might be.”

Any council action would be limited, Green noted, adding that removal from council would take a vote of the people or an act by the governor.

Green made a public statement at Tuesday night’s Warren City Council meeting in which he scolded Kabacinski for his alleged actions one month earlier involving a Black family whose home had been attacked in Warren.

In that earlier incident, Kabacinski showed up as part of what was viewed as a counter-demonstration at an anti-racism protest supporting the victims, Eddie and Candace Hall. The first-term city councilman carried a Trump for President flag, wore a handgun holstered to his waist and exchanged words with demonstrators.

“On Sept. 19, Councilman Eddie Kabacinski participated in a demonstration that was considered by many to be in opposition to an anti-racism protest,” Green said. “I want to state for the record, and on-behalf of the entire council, that Mr. Kabacinski's actions, while protected under the First Amendment, were perceived as a disregard for the Hall family, the residents of District 5, and counter-productive to the advancement of racial harmony in the City of Warren. 

“The Warren City Council stands unified in its support for diversity, equality, tolerance, and its advocacy of racial justice,” Green said. “We recognize the disparity created by the actions of Mr. Kabacinski and want to ensure that all residents are aware and understand that his actions are not representative of the City Council.”

Green said Wednesday he had confirmed the charges and the council was reviewing the charter and exploring what actions, if any, it might could  take concerning Kabacinski. He made it clear Kabacinski’s actions in the September incident were not sanctioned or approved by the council or many residents.

“Over the past few weeks, members of the City Council have received requests to censure or to remove Councilman Kabacinski for his actions,” Green said. “In absence of the authority for this Council to comply with these requests, we firmly regard Mr. Kabacinski's behavior to be inconsistent with our duties as elected officials, our approach to creating a more tolerant environment that fosters racial harmony, and reaffirm our position of unity with the Hall family and all victims of racial injustice in Warren and throughout the world.”

Repeated phone calls and emails by The News to Kabacinski for comment Wednesday were not returned. Eastpointe police also declined comment.

Kabacinski has expressed his political views in other situations, including wearing a military gas mask at a city council meeting in April to show his displeasure at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders aimed at stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319