Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has returned home after she was detained by police in Detroit on Tuesday. Her attorney, Heather Heidelbaugh, said officers handcuffed Wagner's husband when he tried to get back into their hotel room.
"It's something that should happen to no one,” Heidelbaugh said. “I think a lot of people made very terrible mistakes.”
According to Heidelbaugh, Wagner and her husband, Khari Mosley, went to Detroit for a late Valentine's Day celebration, where they saw a symphony and had a steak dinner. They went back to their hotel, and Wagner went to the room and to bed. Mosley was not tired, so went downstairs in the hotel. He did not have his room key and went to the front desk to get back in the room. The clerk at the desk said his name was not on the reservation.
Heidelbaugh said the clerk then called the police and Mosley was handcuffed. Officers knocked on Wagner's hotel door with Mosley present and she asked why he was detained. The police did not explain, and Heidelbaugh said Wagner followed the officers to the elevator, where she was pushed, hurt her wrist and back, and received bruises. Wagner was taken into custody and led to a detention center, while Mosley was told to leave the hotel. Wagner was released mid-day Wednesday.
"She's okay, but I think she's very traumatized," Heidelbaugh said. “She did nothing wrong and I think it really shook her."
According to The Detroit News, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said there is body-camera footage that will show the officers acted appropriately.
"We got a call about a man who was in the hotel bar under the influence of alcohol," Craig told the paper. "The officers escorted him back up to their room; they weren't going to arrest him. But at some point, his wife came out and there was a disturbance. She was arrested without incident."
Craig said during a press conference Friday that Wagner was, in fact, taken to the ground.
"We believe, based on what we saw (on the body camera footage), we feel that the officers' actions were appropriate," Craig said. "They were measured and they treated both with professionalism given that they both had a level of intoxication; I don't know that level, but it was clear to me watching the video that there was some intoxication."
Craig claimed during the initial contact that Mosley had his hands in the air, saying "Hands up, don't shoot."
"He referenced his education in comparison to the security guards at the hotel, there was some use of profanity towards the officers during the encounter," he said. "They wanted to resolve it without an arrest. They escorted him to his room, left the room but then he started disruptive behavior and the officers had to return and it led to an arrest."
Craig claims Wagner, while handcuffed, said that she was the highest ranking political official in the county she serves, but she was not using it to get out of trouble.
Craig said she was arrested for assault and battery. He said they will not release the video footage because it is an active criminal investigation.