INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)– A former Ingham County Judge is speaking to 6 News, after Monday he was charged with assault and battery, for pulling a restaurant employee’s hair.

William Collette says he did not assault anyone, and he’s shocked that this case is going to court.

On May 29, 2021 Collette says he went to Dusty’s Celler in Okemos to pick up food for his wife. When he walked inside, his path to his food was blocked by an employee, who was telling people they couldn’t enter.

He then says he asked her several time if she could move so he could get over to the counter to pick up his order. Collette says he’s not sure the employee even heard him, as she said nothing, nor did she move out of the way. That’s when Collette says he tugged on the woman’s hair to get her attention.

“I tugged on her hair, I fully admit that”

Following the interaction, the woman allegedly moved without saying anything to him. He got his food and left Dusty’s Celler without issue.

Collette says he didn’t think about the incident again for months until the charges were issued Friday, and he was in court on Monday.

When speaking with 6 News, the former judge says it was a mistake, but it’s not assault and battery, and he’s looking forward to defending himself.

“There was no felonious intent to hurt anybody, not intent to do any harm.

William Collette has spent more than 30 years in the court system, serving as a judge in the 54th District court from 1979 to 1990. He’s been a judge in Ingham County’s 30th District Court since 1991, he retired last year.

“To charge me with assaulting someone, which is causing them injury, to cause them damage to their person when I tugged on their hair, seems a bit much.”

6 News has reached out to the Clinton County Prosecutor who is pursuing the case, and we’ve not heard back from them at this time.