Former Hartford Police officer facing charges on allegations of excessive force

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VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. -- A former Hartford Police officer will face a trial for allegedly using excessive force during a traffic stop in August 2020.

Matthew Mistretta, 31, was arraigned in May on two counts of assault and battery and one count of misconduct in office by a public official.

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, the judge bound the case over to circuit court.

The case was one of several brought by the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit.

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

The case is the result of a traffic stop on a truck that was speeding and being driven erratically.

A bystander captured video of Mistretta removing the driver from the truck, shoving him into the side of the truck to handcuff him, then slamming him on the hood of the patrol car, Nessel's office said.

Mistretta then forced the man to the ground and knelt on him "in a similar manner to the George Floyd murder," the AG's office said.

The subject of the traffic stop did not resist or obstruct the officer, Nessel said.

A passenger in the truck reported hearing the driver tell the officer he couldn't breathe, reports said.

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