Police investigate after Warren councilman allegedly handcuffed Trump rally protester

Police reviewing complaints after woman allegedly put stickers on signs, sprayed aerosol string

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published October 19, 2020

 Police are investigating whether any crimes took place when Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski reportedly handcuffed a counter demonstrator at an Eastpointe rally.

Police are investigating whether any crimes took place when Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski reportedly handcuffed a counter demonstrator at an Eastpointe rally.

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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EASTPOINTE/WARREN — Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski has reportedly been involved in an incident with an apparent counter demonstrator while rallying in support of President Donald Trump.

“There is an allegation that he put handcuffs on a woman at a Trump rally after she put stickers on some of the signs that were on display,” Eastpointe Police Deputy Chief Eric Keiser said of the Oct. 14 incident. “Since it’s an open case we’re limited as to what we can say.”

Keiser confirmed that Kabacinski was scheduled to meet with investigators on Oct. 19 and that detectives would also be speaking with the other parties involved. The woman who was allegedly handcuffed by Kabacinski is a 24-year-old resident of Eastpointe.

Sources said a canned substance was also sprayed at Kabacinski. It reportedly turned out to be aerosol “Silly String.”  

It was unclear who called police to the scene of the afternoon rally at Stephens and Kelly roads, but Keiser said officers from St. Clair Shores took the initial report at about 4:20 p.m. because Eastpointe police were handling a shooting incident. The report taken at the rally was later turned over to Eastpointe detectives for further investigation.     

“We are investigating it and we will be contacting the Macomb County prosecutor to see what type of crime, if any, had taken place,” Keiser said. 

Reached for comment on the report on Oct. 16 and again on Oct. 19, Kabacinski first said he planned to meet with Eastpointe police and later confirmed that the meeting took place. He said he made a statement, but declined to discuss the full details surrounding the incident prior to the conclusion of the investigation. 

“I’m not really at liberty to comment any more than to acknowledge that there was an incident that took place at the Trump rally at Stephens and Kelly,” Kabacinski said initially.

He added that there were at least three 911 calls from the scene and confirmed that police from St. Clair Shores responded. 

Kabacinski later said that he moved to detain the woman he alleged acted to “breach the peace” by placing a 5-by-8-inch “Black Lives Matter” sticker on a Trump-Pence sign. 

“Putting a decal sticker over a Trump sign, and it says Black Lives Matter, you are promoting a domestic terrorist organization on a Trump sign and that’s not good,” Kabacinski said. “That’s not the image that the Trump campaign or the Republican Party is trying to convey. We are trying to get back to law and order in this country.”

He said the placement of the sticker “was antagonistic and it was to elicit a response.”

“And the response was, it is now under investigation,” Kabacinski said. “Her actions are under investigation. My actions are under investigation, and the Eastpointe police will come to their conclusion.” 

It wasn’t immediately clear if the woman who was allegedly handcuffed by Kabacinski was at the rally alone or with another group of demonstrators, and what, if any, that group’s affiliation was. 

Keiser said reports would be made available after the case is presented to prosecutors and the investigation is closed. 

Previous encounters 

Kabacinski, elected in 2019 to a four-year term in Warren’s City Council District 5, representing a section of mostly southern Warren between Ryan and Hoover roads, said he was at the Eastpointe rally with others from Macomb County and the region who get together to support Trump and down ballot conservative candidates at various rallies and “pop-up” events. 

On Sept. 19, Kabacinski was with a group he said turned out to support Trump and law enforcement officers, set up across the street from a crowd assembled at the Hoover Eleven Shopping Center in Warren for an event billed as a “March Against Racism.” The march was organized by the South Warren Alliance for Radical Movement, Detroit Will Breathe and Michigan Liberation after a series of alleged hate crimes at the nearby home of a Black family. 

The two groups of demonstrators clashed briefly during the Warren rally, but no major incidents were reported by police. Kabacinski later said the pole of his red “Make American Great Again” flag was broken during a brief dust-up. 

At the Sept. 22 City Council meeting that followed the Warren rally,  Kabacinski declared that the groups of demonstrators, which he alleged included “ANTIFA and Black Lives Matters traitors” had “invaded District 5” to “commit anarchy, intimidation, mayhem, riot and violence.” His actions at the rally and his words afterward prompted calls for his resignation, or for him to at least be censured by his peers on the City Council. 

A second demonstration in Warren organized by SWARM and Detroit Will Breathe on Oct. 3 moved through Kabacinski’s neighborhood near MacArthur Boulevard and Toepfer Road without incident.   

Kabacinski attended the Warren rally wearing military gear and a holstered handgun on his hip, which he later said he always openly carries. Asked about the Eastpointe incident, he confirmed that he sometimes carries handcuffs among the equipment he purchased when he left the U.S. Army in 2003, and that he now does so because of acts of violence he said he’s witnessed at other rallies. 

He claimed shots were fired during a rally at Nine Mile and Schoenherr roads on Oct. 10. At the same rally, he said someone attempted to damage a sign and drove a vehicle near a rallygoer dressed as “Lady Liberty.”  Warren police investigated the incidents but found no evidence of shots being fired. 

Warren police records indicated there were other recent calls for service involving Kabacinski, including an incident at his home on Oct. 2, where a Trump-Pence sign was reportedly stolen.

No arrests were made and no charges resulted from the calls.     

‘This has to come to an end’

Kabacinski spoke about the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, a U.S. federal law enacted in 2004 and amended in 2010 and 2013. He said he was a military police officer and that he worked for the Inkster Police Department for three years before he went into the service. 

He said the act gives retired or former government, military, civilian or railroad law enforcement officers with a combined 10 years of experience powers to carry concealed weapons and detain those who breach the peace or break the law.

“I believe I’ve acted in the spirit of the LEOSA act,” Kabacinski said. “I believe I’ve acted in the spirit of what the law says about breaches of the peace and felonies.

“We all have a hand in maintaining a peaceful society. These agitators and instigators that do this are not peaceful,” Kabacinski said. “They’re not acting in a peaceful manner. This has to come to an end.”
He added that he has little faith in Macomb prosecutors, regardless of the findings of the Eastpointe investigation.

“It’s going to be political. It’s not going to be based on the law,” Kabacinski said.  

Macomb County Republican Party Chairman Mark Forton confirmed that Kabacinski contacted the group after the incident in Eastpointe, but he declined to address what was discussed.

“I don’t know what happened that day,” Forton said. 

Keiser said the Eastpointe Police Department would attempt to present its findings about the Oct. 14 incident to prosecutors and close the investigation as soon as possible.

“No one wants this to kind of linger. We have to make sure everyone makes themselves available for the interview so we can have both sides of the story,” Keiser said.

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