Benton Harbor police officer accused of excessive force
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – On December 28, Benton Harbor Police Officer Drew Wagner chased and tased a suspect during a stop involving a potentially stolen car. Wagner’s use of force during the incident, however, is being called into question.
The chase began during a traffic stop and lasted until the suspect, Michael Thompson, made it to a Marathon gas station where Wagner caught up to him.
After being tasered two times, Thompson dropped to the ground, prompting Officer Wagner to engage in a scuffle with the Thompson. During this, Thompson was punched in the face multiple times.
When Thompson asked why he was being punched, Wagner replied “Because you weren’t listening.”
Officer Wagner later reported that "...he turned around on his back and began pulling the taser probes out of his back. I then delivered two closed fist strikes to Michael's head to prevent him from removing his probes and to try to get control of him and reset his thought process..."
Also in the report, Wagner said, "I was able to eventually get partially on top of Michael while he was on his back facing me. I used a closed fist strike to his head area one more time with my left hand in an attempt to perform another control technique to try to handcuff him."
Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis also commented on the incident, saying, "The officer deployed a taser on the subject with little affect. He continued to actively resist. The officer struck him as it appeared the subject would attempt to get back up to his feet after removing one taser prong, thus still actively resisting."
McGinnis also said that Thompson had an active felony warrant.
Thompson was placed under arrest after another officer arrived on the scene.