Hartford police officer goes to trial, excessive force case

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer looks on during a Dec. 15, 2020, press conference in Lansing. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of Governor)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Hartford police officer Matthew Mistretta is going to trial for misconduct, assault and battery.

“My office will continue to hold public servants accountable who fail to uphold the integrity of their oath to protect and serve,” Nessel said. 

According to a release from Attorney General Dana Nessel, Mistretta conducted a traffic stop last August on a truck that was recklessly speeding.

Video from a bystander shows Mistretta removing a man from the truck, shoving him into the side of the truck while handcuffing him, then slamming the man onto the patrol car hood.

Mistretta then took the individual to the ground, kneeling on him in a way that is compared to Derek Chauvin’s handling of George Floyd.

Video shows that the man did not resist Mistretta during the arrest. According to a passenger, the driver was heard telling Mistretta that he could not breathe.

The officer was arraigned in May in the 7th District Court of Van Buren County for the following:

  • two counts of assault and battery, which counts as a 93 day misdemeanor
  • one count of misconduct in office by a public official, which counts as a five year felony

Mistretta’s first circuit court appearance is Sept. 20 at 1:45 p.m., before Judge Brickley. 

These charges are a result of AG Nessel’s Public Integrity Unit investigations (PIU).

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