Belding Police Officer Investigated Following Fight Outside Bar

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-28 19:01:21-04

BELDING, Mich. — A Belding Police officer is under investigation after being accused of getting in a fight while off-duty.

A woman who is nearly nine months pregnant said that she was punched while trying to break up that fight outside of the Grattan Irish Pub.

“It scared me,” said Ashley Geldersma, Belding resident.

On Oct. 11, Geldersma said she walked to the pub looking for her brother and future brother-in-law.  She said what she found was a fight going on in a car the parking lot.  She claims the off-duty officer was in the passenger side, choking her family member.

When she tried to break up the fight, she was struck.

“I got hit on this side here,” said Ashley, pointing to the right side of her stomach.

She said she had to go to the hospital for two days following the incident due to some resulting contractions.  Ashley said a male bystander finally helped to pull the officer away.

“I would love to thank that guy because he helped me stop the whole thing,” she said.

Ashley said some of the officer’s belongings were inside of her car after the fight because he was physically in her car wrestling with her family members.

She said she was told to turn the items into the Kent County Sheriff’s Office as evidence in the case.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office confirms that they did investigate, saying they were called to respond to the fight at around 11:30 p.m. and the off-duty Belding officer was involved.

They passed their report on to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Belding Police Department also issued a statement through the city manager’s office.

It said, “City administration is aware of and is internally addressing the events regarding your inquiry.  However, the City’s policy is not to discuss or disclose any information with any person, organization or entity regarding any City personnel.”

We learned that the same officer was investigated following a shooting in January when “Bud” Rowley was killed after he shot at a state trooper and the Belding officer returned fire.

The Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office decided that the officer was justified in using force in that case.

Ashley said she hasn’t had a problem with him on duty in the small community in the past.

“He’s a good officer,” she said. “He’s a good guy.”

However, she says because he’s well-known, he may not be receiving the consequences she feels he should for the off-duty fight.

“He not only scared me, but put me and my unborn child in danger and I could have lost my kid,” she said.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said the prosecutor indicated that they are not issuing charges on anyone involved in the fight.  That may have been due to a number of witness statements that didn’t clearly indicated who started the argument or the fight.