Wakelin loses appeal; charges of resisting arrest bound over. 

October 13, 2021

Wakelin

Wakelin loses appeal; charges of resisting arrest bound over. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A case against a Ludington man charged with assaulting/obstructing/resisting police officers has been bound over to circuit court following an appeal by the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. 

Devon Joseph Edwin Wakelin, 24, of 101 W. Melendy St., was arrested by Ludington Police Department on two separate occasions. On May 9, 2021 he was arrested on two felony counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police. On July 25 he was again charged with three counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police along with domestic violence. 

All five counts of resisting arrest, two from May 9 and three from July 25, had been dismissed by 79th District Court Judge John Middlebrook.

Judge Middlebrook didn’t bind the charges over to circuit court stating officers didn’t give Wakelin an opportunity to comply with their orders before they detained him. The judge also stated resisting arrest requires a physical resistance and not just verbal resistance. 

Assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer is a felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment. 

The May 9 charges were overturned by 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski following an appeal hearing on Oct. 7. New motions were filed in court on Oct. 13. An appeal hearing to overturn the decision about the July 25 resisting charges is pending. 

Wakelin also is facing domestic violence charges following the July 25 incident along with three charges of embezzlement – agent or trustee less than $200, following a Sept. 1, 2021 arrest by Michigan State Police. 

The initial charges against Wakelin began following an incident on South James Street when he allegedly shot BBs from a BB handgun into a vehicle, an incident that was witnessed by a person on the street. 

Shortly before 6 p.m. on May 9, Ludington Police Department responded to a complaint from a 41-year-old Ludington man who stated that BBs were shot at his car in the 200 block of South James Street. 

“The 41-year-old victim told police he was sitting his car in the 200 block of South James Street when the suspect drove by in a red Chevrolet Cruze,” said Cpt. Steve Wietrzykowski. “The suspect pointed a handgun at the victim, fired three shots, and drove away. The victim said he heard three BBs strike his car.”

The victim identified the suspect as Devon Joseph Edwin Wakelin. 

According to the police report, written by Sgt. Mike Haveman, Wakelin and the victim (Mason County Press does not identify victims unless they are also suspects) had a history. 

“I am familiar with an incident involving (the victim) and Wakelin which occurred on May 7, 2021,” Haveman wrote, stating that the victim had accused Wakelin of spraying him with water and threatening to get a gun and assaulting him. “I am also familiar with incidents in 2020 where Wakelin was accused of carrying a gun at Tiki.” 

Haveman also noted that Officer Angela Babinec advised him that Wakelin was discovered to have a suspended driver’s license. 

The issue of the driver’s license suspension was one of the points of contention in the dismissal of the May 9 case. 

Ludington police officers then responded to Wakelin’s home. According to police reports, Wakelin was initially not at home. As police officers were preparing to drive away, Wakelin drove up. 

““The officers tried to detain the suspect in order to identify him and complete the investigation, but the man refused to cooperate with police,” Wietrzykowski said. “When officers tried to grab the man’s arms to detain him, he pulled away and called the officers ‘dumb asses.’ The officers then struggled with the man to get him arrested. Both of the officers’ body cams were knocked from their mounts during the struggle. The suspect kicked one of the body cams across the street before being put in the patrol car.”

On July 25, Ludington Police Department was called to Wakelin’s residence for a report of a possible assault. According to the police report, Wakelin’s girlfriend, Lindsey Klastow, 38, called 911 and reported that her 13-year-old daughter had been assaulted by Wakelin. 

“Lindsey said that Devon came home from Tiki and was upset that she did not feel sorry for him for being jumped at the bar,” Officer Chad Skiba wrote in a report. “Lindsay said that (her daughter) came into the room and Devon pushed her. (Note, Mason County Press will not post the name of a victim).”

While Officer Skiba was interviewing Klastow and her daughter, other officers attempted to arrest Wakelin, according to the police report. At that time, Wakelin started to resist the officers, the report stated. 

“Devon was actively resisting by trying to put his arms under his upper body and push himself up,” Skiba wrote, adding that he then held Wakelin down as other officers were trying to handcuff him.”

Officer Jared Versluis said he told Wakelin at that time that he was under arrest. 

“Devon pulled his arms in close to his body and started backing up towards the stairs yelling ‘no, no, no, no.’ I grabbed Devon’s right arm while Officer (Michael) Gilmurrary grabbed his left arm. Devon tensed up and tried to pull away. We pulled Devon into the living room and with the assistance of Officer Skiba, we pulled Devon to the ground between the couch and table. Devon was told he was under arrest four times in total and was told to stop fighting. Devon continued to tense up, attempted to pull his arms under him and actively resisted arrest. Officer Gilmurrary and I were eventually able to get Devon’s hands behind him and Officer Gilmurrary placed Devon in handcuffs. 

“Once Devon was handcuffed, Officer Gilmurrary and I rolled Devon onto hi side to find him unconscious, but breathing. Seeing Devon was unconscious, I immediately radioed central dispatch requesting EMS priority 1 for an unconscious male at 3:40 a.m. We rolled Devon onto his back and attempted to wake him by yelling his name. I checked Devon’s neck and found he had a strong pulse. I rubbed Devon’s sternum (a common technique to attempt to wake an unconscious person during a medical emergency) and rolled Devon back onto his right side where I took the handcuffs off him. After removing the handcuffs, Devon was rolled onto his back again. Officer Gilmurrary stayed with Devon while I went to my cruiser and grabbed an AED in case we needed it. Upon entering back into the house, Officer Gilmurrary told me Devon was starting to make some noise. While turning on the AED, Devon started to wake up and make noise. Devon opened his eyes, was breathing, would make noise, but would not respond to me when I asked him questions. At 3:47 a.m. Life EMS arrived and started providing medical attention to Devon. While attending to Devon, EMS requested I give Devon a PBT to see how intoxicated he was. Devon submitted to a PBT with a result of .092 (blood alcohol level). AFter being given the PBT and before being placed on the gurney, Devon told Officer Glmurrary: ‘It was dismissed last time, I was not guilty.’ Devon wanted to go to the hospital so we assisted him to his feet and to the gurney. Devon was transported to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital by Life EMS.”

After being cleared from the hospital, Wakelin was transported to the Mason County Jail.

Following the scuttle with officers in the house, officers escorted Klastow and her daughter outside. While outside, Klastow told officers that Wakelin had grabbed her arm that evening. “(I) could see fresh red marks and what appeared to be fresh bruising on Lindsey’s right arm,” Skiba wrote. “Lindsey said that after Devon struck (her daughter) she reacted by pushing Devon; Devon in turn grabbed her by the right arm.” 

According to the police report, Wakelin and Klastow had been together for seven years. 

Regarding the May 9 incident, Judge Middlebrook dismissed the resisting arrest charges stating police did not give him enough time to respond to their commands, a lapse that could be fatal for a police officer. 

In the appeal hearing, Mason County Assistant Prosecutor Beth Hart contradicted the defense attorney Becky Lederer’s argument stating that Sgt. Haveman “only told the defendant to ‘come here’ one time in a friendly manner. This is not true.” 

Hart stated that Haveman testified and body cameras confirmed that he commanded Wakelin three times: “Come here. Come here. Hey, come over here.” 

Body camera footage also shows Haveman pointing his arm away from Wakelin’s vehicle and in the direction of a police vehicle. 

Lederer had argued, also, that Wakelin was being detained because he had been witnessed driving a vehicle and officers believed he had a suspended driver’s license. She stated that the officers never indicated to Wakelin that he was being detained on those grounds. Hart argued that only the prosecutor’s office has the authority to file charges and that wasn’t the only reason he was being detained. 

“The defendant’s lack of a driver’s license, while grounds to detention and arrest, is not necessarily a component to violation in this case. The officers had grounds to arrest and detain. The defendant failed to obey lawful commands and resisted a lawful detention and arrest.” 

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