Chelsa Wagner declares partial victory in Detroit case, releases more video
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is declaring victory in the case involving a March 6 encounter she and her husband had with Detroit police, according to a statement emailed to the Tribune-Review on Saturday by a public relations firm that’s representing the couple.
The firm also released more video footage of the incident that they say shows Wagner wasn’t the aggressor during the confrontation.
On Thursday, a Detroit judge ordered Wagner, 41, of Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood to stand trial on a felony charge of resisting and obstructing the police and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.
The judge dismissed another charge of resisting and obstruction during a preliminary examination Thursday.
It was this dismissal that Wagner’s public relations team was hailing as a victory because it throws out “half of the case against Wagner.”
“The case was outrageously overcharged, with charges entered the day after the (Detroit) solicitor received a letter from Wagner’s attorneys indicating she would be filing suit,” a statement from Wagner said.
Once the “full evidence and information” is presented in court, Wagner’s team said they’re confident she will be “vindicated” on all charges.
Wagner has disputed the way Detroit authorities and hotel officials have described the encounter, which happened during a mid-week getaway that was a post-Valentine’s Day celebration for Wagner and her husband, Khari Mosley.
“Evidence will show that Wagner moved aside from the elevator door when asked by the police officer, continued to ask why her husband was being detained, when the officer then pushed Wagner, and forcefully shoved her to the ground. Wagner did nothing illegal, and the evidence will show that,” Wagner’s statement said.
The statement made no mention about the misdemeanor charges that Mosley faces.
Mosley, 42, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Because those charges are misdemeanors he wasn’t given a preliminary examination. He is next due in court April 25, when he faces a pretrial conference the same day Wagner is set to be arraigned in Wayne County Circuit Court as her case appears to be headed to trial.
The case also raises questions about when authorities have a right to enter someone’s hotel room, legal experts have told the Tribune-Review.
Wagner’s attorney, Charles Longstreet, argued in court that there’s nothing illegal about drinking in a hotel room, and police didn’t have a legal right to enter Wagner’s room.
Duquesne University Law Professor Bruce Ledewitz said he’s not sure it matters whether the police had a right to enter Wagner’s hotel room.
“You can’t obstruct the police physically regardless of whether they have a legal right to be there,” Ledewitz said. “I mean — even if the police break into your house, you can’t physically interfere with them.”
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .