Flint mail carrier charged in fight on cellphone video

The Detroit News

Flint — A mail carrier has been charged with assault and battery, and lying to police following a fight with two other women that was recorded on cellphone video outside a Flint apartment complex.

Charges were filed Tuesday against Trista Paige Newton, 29, by the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.

John Potbury, the deputy chief assistant prosecuting attorney, said the other two women would not be facing charges in connection with the incident.

Flint police were called April 8 to a report of a hit-and-run crash and saw that a U.S. Postal Service vehicle had damage to its front end. Newton initially told officers that her vehicle was struck by another vehicle and that she was assaulted by the driver and a passenger of the second vehicle, Prosecutor David Leyton said in a release.

Newton had blackened eyes, scratches, and abrasions around her neck and face.

The cellphone video was posted to social media and appeared to show two women punching the postal worker and pulling her hair as she struggled on the pavement.

Police later spoke with the other two women and witnesses, which led to charges against Newton.

“This is a perfect example of how a situation may not be exactly what it looks like at first glance,” Leyton said. “A lot of people were immediately calling for charges against the two young women involved when, in fact, according to the police investigation, they were the victims. Jumping to conclusions and quick, rash judgments about a situation rarely serves justice well.”

Potbury said the investigation determined Newton "was the one that struck first both with her mail truck and physically assaulting the other women."

He declined to say if one of those other women had been arrested before Newton was charged.

Flint police reported that at least one arrest had been made the week of the incident but did not share details. A department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday seeking more information.

It was not immediately clear if Newton was in custody or if she has an attorney who could comment on the charges.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service told the Associated Press in an email Tuesday afternoon that it does not confirm, deny, or otherwise comment on the existence of its ongoing investigations “in order to preserve the integrity of our investigations and to prevent fundamental unfairness to the subjects of those investigations.”