KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The defense team for former Mattawan police officer Chelsey Omilian says it’ll be allowed to present two key contested items in her upcoming misdemeanor trial. That was the outcome of an evidentiary hearing held Thursday in Van Buren County District Court.
Omilian was charged in November 2017 with reckless use of a firearm after firing five gunshots at a fleeing vehicle on November 3rd. Police said the man suspected of driving the stolen getaway car – 26-year-old Gary Kingsbury – was not injured, but one of the two women passengers in the vehicle was shot in the leg. Police arrested Kingsbury later.
At Thursday’s hearing, Attorney Sarissa Montague told District Judge Michael McKay that she should be allowed to share information with a jury about what Omilian knew about the suspect, Kingsbury, before firing the gun. The judge agreed. According to a news release from the Levine & Levine law firm, Omilian knew the suspect’s name, his “felonious criminal background, and that he most likely had a gun in his presence”.
The woman passenger who was shot told police that no one in the stolen vehicle had any guns.
The judge also agreed to instruct the jury that police officers have the right to fire their gun when a felon is fleeing.
The news release quoted Attorney Montague as saying, “This is a big win in our defense for Officer Omilian.
“No officer is happy when they have to use their service revolver to stop a crime from happening. Officer Omilian had to make a quick decision involving the safety of not only herself, but the community, when she decided to try and stop the driver of the stolen car from continuing on a crime spree and potentially hurting others.”
Kingsbury was busted on two counts of Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, and Resisting & Obstructing Police. A subsequent guilty plea erased all but one of the three counts: a single count of Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle. He was sentenced in April to six months in jail and two years’ probation.
Officer Omilian was put on administrative leave, and is no longer with the Mattawan Police Department.
The Michigan State Police handled the investigation.
In addition to video footage of the fleeing/shooting incident, FOX 17 obtained audio recordings of the 911 calls that came in that day.