CLARE, Mich. (WOOD) — After an altercation at a closed committee meeting of the Michigan GOP last month, both parties involved blame the other, and the prosecutor has not yet decided whether to file charges, a police report shows.
An altercation between Mark DeYoung, chair of the Clare County Republican Party, and James Chapman, a Republican from Wayne County, happened in the afternoon on July 8 at the Doherty Hotel in Clare, according to reports from the Clare Police Department obtained by News 8.
Police said when they arrived on scene, the fight had broken up.
In a police interview, DeYoung said the executive committee of the Michigan GOP was meeting, and people who were not in the executive committee were not allowed inside.
From inside the meeting, DeYoung said he heard a locked door rattling and wondered if someone was attempting to put a key inside.
DeYoung said when he approached the door to investigate, a hand with the middle finger extended popped up in the window area, and a voice behind the door said, “F— you,” according to the police report.
When DeYoung opened the door, he allegedly told police he immediately “got kicked in the crotch” before he could say anything, according to the police report.
Then, DeYoung said, he went into the hallway to see why he was kicked and then removed his glasses, because he believed the other man — later identified as Chapman — would punch him in the face. Because of the position he held and the meeting taking place, DeYoung told police in a statement he did not plan to fight with anyone.
The other man allegedly charged at DeYoung and tackled him, and they fell, according to DeYoung. DeYoung told police he fell on his back and hit his head.
According to the police report, DeYoung told police that others tried to pull the other man off him, but people landed on top of him in the process. Chapman fell on DeYoung and broke his dentures, DeYoung told police.
In the police interview, DeYoung said he had never seen the other man before, but he later identified the other man from a picture. Someone else then identified the other man as Chapman, according to the police report.
DeYoung said in a statement that when he returned to the meeting, Kristina Karamo, chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party, hugged him, apologized for the attack and described Chapman as “a little violent and off,” according to the police report. DeYoung allegedly was then told — after the incident — that Chapman had been making bomb threats, saying he would blow the door off the meeting room so he could enter.
DeYoung said he visited the emergency room and had stress fractures in his spine, bruised ribs and muscles and a tender groin.
DeYoung allegedly told police he planned to press charges.
In his interview with police, Chapman initially said there had been no fight, the report said.
Chapman said the Michigan Republican Party had been having a closed meeting, and he, along with other “excluded delegates,” was “locked out in the hallway.”
Chapman allegedly told police he had been trying to listen through a locked door when a man came up through the door and accused him of messing with the door, trying to break in. Chapman allegedly said no, that he was only listening, and told the man to leave.
Chapman allegedly told police he did not know the man, although he saw a nametag that said Mark DeYoung.
Then, according to Chapman, the other man became “more belligerent” and told Chapman “he would kick his a–,” the police report said. Chapman allegedly told the man to come outside and do it.
According to Chapman, the man came outside the door, and he removed his glasses because he believed he would be in a fight.
In a statement, Chapman told police the other man began “punching at me with clenched fists.” He told police he stopped the man by grabbing his legs and laying him down on his back. Chapman maintained he did not kick or punch DeYoung, according to the police report.
When people came into the hallway, Chapman said in a statement to police that one person told him he should “get out of there.” Chapman said he then left and was in the parking lot when police stopped him.
When asked why he was in a brawl during the interview, Chapman allegedly told police it was because DeYoung attacked him. Chapman said the other man threatened him first.
Chapman told police he plans to pursue charges against DeYoung, according to the police report.
One witness told police that Chapman had been making noise outside the door and DeYoung told him to stop, according to the police report. The witness allegedly said although he only saw it from behind DeYoung, it looked like Chapman touched DeYoung in the midsection of his body when DeYoung opened the door.
That witness told police it looked like Chapman “did something to” DeYoung, but he did not know what, the report said. Then, the witness allegedly told police DeYoung went into the hallway, and he heard a “melee” ensue.
A second witness, who was working at the Doherty Hotel at the time, allegedly told police that a man with longer hair was looking through the window when a bald man came out and told the first man “don’t f—ing look in here.” Then, she said, the man with longer hair tried to kick the bald man but missed, the police report said.
After that, the second witness allegedly told police a group came out and began “tussling.” She told police there was no swinging, but there was arguing and pushing, and one man got tackled into a chair. She said the man with the long hair got tackled, according to the police report.
A third witness who was inside the meeting allegedly said in a statement to police that she heard someone wiggling the door and thought they might break in. Then, she said she saw a man inside the room get up, look through the door’s window, get in “kind of a kung foo fighter pose” and open the door, according to the police report.
The third witness heard a commotion in the hallway and yelled that there was a fight, but she did not witness what happened in the hallway, the report said.
The prosecutor has not issued a decision on whether to file charges.