Warren councilmember arrested, charged with misdemeanor violation

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

Utica — Warren City councilmember Eddie Kabacinski was arrested Saturday for "violation of city ordinances," police said. 

Kabacinski identified himself as a councilman when police made contact and was released the same day on an appearance ticket for the violation, according to a statement from the Utica Police Department, whose representatives declined to provide more information about the incident. 

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.

Records from the 41A District Court in Shelby Township show he has been charged on one count of misdemeanor ordinance violation. A court date has not yet been set, nor has Kabacinski appointed a lawyer. 

Warren City Council President Patrick Green said he learned about the arrest from social media on Saturday night. 

"Based on the information provided through news reports, I don't think this is a good reflection of what a councilman should be doing," Green said Monday. "I don't think it's a good reflection of the people of the city of Warren."

According to a report from WDIV-TV (Channel 4), Kabacinski was arrested during a Trump Rally in Utica for operating without a peddlers permit. Sources within the City of Warren said he was arrested for selling “Trump-related” items, the station reported. 

Kabacinski could not be immediately reached for comment. Utica City Attorney Linda McGrail was not immediately available for comment.

It's not the first time Kabacinski has been in trouble with the law in the first two years of his four-year tenure on council. He was previously arrested in October on two misdemeanor counts for reportedly impersonating a police officer and handcuffing a woman who put a "Black Lives Matter" sticker on a Trump campaign lawn sign in Eastpointe.

Impersonating a police officer is punishable by up to one year in jail and the assault charge carries a 93-day sentence upon conviction.

In that earlier incident, Kabacinski showed up as part of what was viewed as a counter-demonstration to 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. He didn't respond to requests for comment at that time.

Kabacinski has expressed his political views in other situations, including wearing a military gas mask at a city council meeting in April 2020 to show his displeasure at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders aimed at stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Green said the council receives emails and phone calls asking for Kabacinski's removal because of incidents like this latest arrest. The council president said he called Kabacinski when he learned about the arrest.

"I thought he would try to get in front of it, I gave him the option, but he didn't say a word." 

Green similarly made a public statement about the October 2020 protest incident at a council meeting, indicating Kabacinski had a First Amendment right to political speech but that his actions were counterproductive to promoting racial harmony in Warren.

“The Warren City Council stands unified in its support for diversity, equality, tolerance, and its advocacy of racial justice,” Green said at an October 2020 meeting. “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.”

Kabacinski, a first-term council member, was elected in November 2019 to represent council District 5. Warren has seven council members. 

Warren Mayor James Fouts did not respond to a request for comment.