2 Washtenaw deputies charged with misconduct at jail

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Two Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies, in separate cases, face charges of assault and misconduct involving inmates at the Washtenaw County Jail.

The public integrity unit of the Michigan Attorney General's Office is prosecuting both cases.

The state alleges that in August 2020, Cpl. Christopher Ellul briefly grabbed an inmate while pulling him from a cell.

"Video evidence shows Ellul grabbed the inmate by the neck," the state alleges.

A deputy was heard on video telling Ellul to stop, but then he allegedly grabbed the inmate's neck again.

The state claims "this incident lasted six to eight seconds total," and Ellul is charged with assault and battery, a misdemeanor, and misconduct in office, a five-year felony.

Ellul's preliminary exam is scheduled for July 27 before 14A District Judge Cedric Simpson.

In the second case, a deputy is accused of doing inappropriate favors for female inmates and asking the women to expose themselves to him.

The state alleges that in October 2018, deputy Kenric Mukrdechian was working overnight at the jail. Two inmates were under his supervision.

Nessel alleges Mukrdechian snuck the women pizza, and then asked the two to expose themselves. One of them did and, when he asked again, she did it again.

Mukrdechian was arraigned Thursday at 14A District Court in Ypsilanti on one felony charge: misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony. His probable cause conference is set for June 24, also before Simpson.

Both investigations were carried out by the Mission team of the Michigan Sheriff's Association.

Mission has been around about 15 years, said Matthew Saxton, executive director of the sheriff's association. 

If misconduct is suspected, a sheriff will make a request for a Mission investigation. The sheriff's association will assign two investigators who work as a team, Saxton said.

This can be either a criminal investigation or an internal affairs-type investigation.

The investigators are chosen from a pool of investigators from around the state with additional training. The investigators are not from counties adjacent to the assigning county.

"A sheriff wants a non-biased investigation," Saxton said.

Mission investigators are requested in lieu of state police because its investigators are "familiar with jail operations," Saxton said.