AG Nessel charges four law enforcement officers in public integrity cases

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The outcomes of five public integrity cases were announced by Attorney General Dana Nessel today and all involve law enforcement officers.

Four of the public integrity cases resulted in charges against the officers involved; the fifth case was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

“It is imperative that those willing to protect and serve do so with utmost integrity,” said Nessel. “In instances where officers abuse their power and therefore disrespect the badge, our team stands ready to ensure accountability.” 

Nessel’s office disclosed the following about each case:

Charges against Cpl. Christopher Ellul – Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department 

Last August, Cpl. Christopher Ellul was working as a Washtenaw County Sheriff Correction Deputy at the county jail when he assisted in removing an inmate from a cell. Video evidence shows that Ellul grabbed the inmate by the neck. Another deputy can be heard telling Ellul to stop, which he did briefly before again placing his hand around the inmate’s neck. This incident lasted six to eight seconds total. 

On May 27, Ellul was arraigned on the following in the 14A-1 District Court: 

  • one count of assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor; and 
  • one count of misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony. 

A preliminary exam will be held July 27 before Judge J. Cedric Simpson in the 14A-1 District Court. 

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association MISSION team conducted the investigation that led to these charges. 

Charges against Kenric Mukrdechian – Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department 

In October 2018, Kenric Mukrdechian was working an overnight shift as a Washtenaw County Sheriff Correction Deputy at the county jail. His duties that night included supervising two female inmates.  During the course of his shift, he snuck them pizza; shortly after he asked the women to expose themselves, one of whom complied. He asked her to expose herself again a short time later. Again she complied.   

On June 3, Mukrdechian was arraigned on the following in the 14A-1 District Court: 

  • one count of misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony. 

A probable cause conference is scheduled for June 24 before Judge J. Cedric Simpson in the 14A-1 District Court. 

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association MISSION team conducted the investigation that led to these charges. 

Charges against Matthew Mistretta – Hartford Police Department 

Last August, Hartford Police Officer Mathew Mistretta conducted a traffic stop on a truck that was speeding and being driven erratically.  

Bystander video of the resulting incident showed Mistretta removing a male driver from the truck, shoving him into the side of the truck to handcuff him and then slamming him onto the hood of the patrol car. Mistretta then proceeded to take the individual to the ground and knelt on him in a similar manner to the George Floyd murder. 

At no point during the arrest was the man resisting or obstructing Mistretta, according to video evidence. A passenger in the truck reported hearing the driver tell Mistretta he couldn’t breathe.  

On May 25, Mistretta was arraigned on the following in the 7th District Court of Van Buren County: 

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

His next court date has not yet been scheduled. 

Michigan State Police conducted the investigation that led to these charges. 

Charges against Scott Voit – Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department 

In February 2020, Gogebic County Deputy Scott Voit ordered an inmate to kneel in order to remove handcuffs from him. Before the inmate could fully kneel down, Voit threw the inmate to the ground to remove the handcuffs, which was caught on video. 

Video evidence of the incident shows that the inmate was not resisting the handcuff removal.  

After examination and tests, the inmate was diagnosed with abrasions on his wrists, a contusion on his back, and a rib fracture.  

Voit will be charged with the following in the Upper Peninsula’s 98th District Court: 

  • one count of assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor; and 
  • one count of misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony. 

Voit is scheduled to be arraigned on June 21.  

Michigan State Police conducted the investigation that led to these charges. 

No charges in Jason Gallegos case – Lansing Police Department 

Last May, officers from the Lansing Police Department were dispatched to a home on Walnut Street for an accidental discharge of a weapon involving Jason Gallegos.  

Upon arrival, Gallegos would not come out of the house and officers learned he had a history of mental illness. 

Attempts to negotiate with Gallegos to exit the home safely were unsuccessful and Gallegos ultimately came outside holding a rifle. Officers also noticed a handgun, sticking out of Gallegos’ pants. 

Several officers ordered Gallegos to drop the gun as he walked into the middle of the street. Instead, Gallegos pointed the rifle at one of the officers and fired as that officer took cover behind a police vehicle. That officer was shot in the lower leg.  

An investigation conducted by Michigan State Police and review of nearly 33 hours of dash and body camera footage from 19 officers as well as all relevant reports determined the officers were justified in using deadly force.  

The filing that requested to close the file on the Gallegos case can be read on the Department’s website for additional information. 

Any questions about the employment status of the officers involved should be directed to the departments of the officers involvoed.

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