Eight charged with resisting officers during Punk Week gathering at Bandemer Park
A Punk Week gathering at Bandemer Park resulted in eight arrests for resisting police Sunday and claims by witnesses that Ann Arbor police officers cursed and were overly rough with people taken into custody.
Police say those arrested refused to leave the park, prompting what witnesses described as a heated exchange between officers and people who traveled to Ann Arbor from around the country hoping to have a good time.
A woman used her cell phone to videotape the chaos, which broke out as people were barbecuing chicken, she said. She captured footage of a woman who ran from a police car before being tackled and dragged away in handcuffs.
The following people were arraigned Tuesday on charges of resisting and obstructing a police officer and disturbing the peace:
- Kolby Chase McMinn, 24, of Tularosa, NM
- Melissa Margret Lyon, 20, of St. Louis, Mo.
- Page Alexandra Callison, 22, of Oakland, Calif.
- Katherine Chandler Andaas, 21, of Lansing
- Spencer Christian Dilday, 21, of Lafayette, La.
- Elijah David King, 19, of Oakland, Calif.
- John Matthew Hoopes, 31, of Buffalo, NY
- Ryan Nicholas Walker, 25, of West Columbia, SC
All are being held at the Washtenaw County Jail on $2,500 bonds.
Ann Arbor police Sgt. David Strauss said officers responded to a report at 5:43 p.m. Sunday that people were smoking marijuana, “lounging naked,” and “having sex” at the Lake Shore Drive park along the Huron River.
The caller estimated 25 people were there, Strauss said. Police spokeswoman Lt. Angella Abrams said the caller was concerned children could potentially see the people. Several dogs were reportedly running loose, Abrams said.
When officers arrived, Abrams said, they told people to disperse.
“Eight of them did not comply and were taken into custody,” Abrams said.
Robert Levin, 26, of Baltimore, Md., said between 20 and 30 people were in the park, a couple of whom were swimming naked. Most were waiting for their chicken to finish cooking, Levin said.
Two patrol cars pulled up with three white male officers inside, and Levin says they got out and started cursing at people, ordering them to leave the park.
He claims officers used a homophobic slur to refer to people and directed a racial slur at a black man. "We were basically saying it was a public park and asking why we have to leave," Levin said.
Frederick Dukes, 45, of Buffalo, NY, who is black and can be seen on one video, said he was called a racial slur and cursed at by officers when he asked why they were there.
“I was trying to disperse it,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yo y’all, let’s go.' The cops were getting all amped up.”
Chloe Behrens, 20, of Los Angeles, said officers initially picked up Elijah King from where he was sitting in the grass and arrested him. Officers then grabbed Melissa Lyon and Katherine Andaas and took them to the ground, she said.
“The police officers threw them airborne and slammed them on the ground and put their knees in their backs,” she said.
People including Lyon and Andaas were making comments to the officers, Behrens said. Some cursed, she said, calling them "pigs" and "Nazis."
After the first three arrests, Marcus Gottsche, 28, of Buffalo, NY, said officers began “grabbing people at random.”
Katie Braun, 19, of Denver, took out her cell phone and started filming.
In one of Braun's videos, a woman she identified as Katherine Andaas can be seen running from near a patrol car before being quickly tackled by an officer and dragged away in handcuffs.
“She is blood-curdling screaming, ‘I can’t breathe!” Braun said.
Jamie Brown, 21, of West Columbia, SC, and her boyfriend, Ryan Walker, left the park and were more than a half-mile away when patrol cars pulled up, she said.
“Cops came out and grabbed only him and told him to get on his knees with three Tasers pointed at him and handcuffed him,” she said.
Lt. Abrams said she was not at the park and couldn't respond to specific allegations, including any language used by officers.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no complaints had been filed against officers involved, Abrams said.
The eight arrested were arraigned at the county jail in front of Magistrate Mark Nelson, who told them he wanted to set bonds to ensure everyone returns to court, given their lack of ties to the community.
Melissa Lyon said in court she has no home address, no income, no assets, has never had a job and planned to leave Michigan on Tuesday for Richmond, Va. She hitchhiked from Southern California to Michigan, she said, because “I wanted to see it.”
Page Callison told the court she's been in the area for a couple weeks after landing a job in Bloomfield Hills fixing up an old house for her friend’s father.
When Nelson asked Callison how she got to the Ann Arbor area, she said she took a flight from Albuquerque to Baltimore, then traveled in a motorhome to Chicago before taking a bus to Michigan.
Callison said she had prior police contact at a protest in San Francisco on May 1, but she wasn't more specific.
Nelson said he would appoint public defenders for all eight people. They are scheduled to have preliminary hearings on Aug. 25.
Resisting and obstructing a police officer is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison upon conviction. Disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail upon conviction.
Thirteen people who know the eight attended the arraignments. The eight were in Ann Arbor for the ninth annual Punk Week, witnesses said.
According to a MySpace page for Punk Week, it was started by a small group of friends who “thought it would be a good idea to have a whole week of events just for the fun of it and to see what they could get away with.”
The event includes a shopping cart race. The city is considering cracking down on it next year, requiring people to obtain permits.
Levin, a witness, said he didn’t know what arrangements would be made to bail his friends out.
“I’m trying to think of a solution,” he said. “The problem is, most of us don’t live here. It’s very hard for us to prove assets and everything else.”
Warning: These videos contain profane language.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.