Two arrested following fight at Shelby Township court

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 2, 2012

Following an altercation at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township, police made two arrests for assault and battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.


The incident took place at roughly 2 p.m. Oct. 2 at the court after three individuals — one female and two males — got into a heated argument that resulted in Utica police intervening and one suspect needing to be subdued with a stun gun.


“We had a disturbance in the court that was a disagreement between two parties,” Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said. “One person had to be Tasered, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt.”


Stathakis said the female and one of the males were arrested after the incident, which led to the court closing its doors for roughly 15 minutes before reopening for business as usual.


Utica police officers detained the suspects, who were in court for what Stathakis called a “neighborhood harassment/disturbance,” because the officers were on-site conducting traffic court business at the front desk when the altercation broke out.


“I had two officers there for traffic court at the front counter when a fight broke out among some people in the lobby there,” Utica Police Chief David Faber said. “My officers took action, and one of the subjects was Tasered. Three people were detained and turned over to Shelby Township police.”


In the course of subduing the suspects, who Faber said were in court on Shelby Township business, officers used a Taser on the male suspect.


“It’s the first time I can recall where our officers had to take action and step in,” Faber said of the disturbance at the court, which serves Utica, Shelby Township and Macomb Township. “If they hadn’t been there at that time for traffic court, who knows how far it could have escalated.”


Stathakis said the altercation was not worsened by the facilities at the district court, which court officials and judges have described as cramped and outdated while petitioning Shelby Township officials to either build a new court or facilitate the transfer of the court to Macomb Township.


“We offered to fix some safety issues there, but the judges said it wasn’t necessary,” Stathakis said of previous discussions with court officials. “To my knowledge (the Oct. 2 altercation) was not a result of that. It was just a couple of passionate groups going after each other.”


While Stathakis maintains the situation was not created by the facilities at the district court, Faber said that the limited space in the court’s lobby did not help matters.


“Now we go back to the old thing about that court and all the parties in the same case in the same cramped quarters in that facility there,” Faber said. “You have the same small lobby, and both sides to a case sitting in those tight areas, and emotions are high already. It’s not the ideal setup.”