No charges filed in Mich. lawmaker-demonstrator dispute

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday her office will not press charges against state Rep. Dave Pagel after a demonstrator accused the Berrien County legislator of assaulting him this month outside the Michigan Capitol.

State police investigated the allegations and provided the findings to the prosecutor’s office on Friday.

Whitmer said surveillance footage from outside the Capitol did not include direct evidence corroborating the demonstrator’s claims against Pagel, an Oronoko Township Republican.

“We reviewed the police reports and the video, and there was not enough evidence to sustain the legal burden of proof (for any charges),” said Whitmer, a Democrat and former state legislator.

Keith Olson of Metro Detroit accused Pagel of assault after a Sept. 14 dispute. Olson, who leads a group called “criminal racketeering against patients,” or CRAP, was protesting new medical marijuana regulations and said his mission was “complete public shaming” of legislators who voted for them.

Pagel acknowledged he confronted a demonstrator outside the state Capitol after the man shouted at him “vile things you shouldn’t say in public” but said the altercation did not get physical.

“He had a bullhorn and shoved that in my face and was yelling at me,” Pagel told The Detroit News earlier this month. “Nothing happened, though; there was no physical incident or anything, so I don’t expect anything to come of it. I probably should have just walked away and not said anything to the guy.”