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Bodycam released after man claims officer misconduct

South Haven Police unit file photo
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 22:21:47-05

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — A gas worker going door to door in South Haven is accusing a South Haven police officer of police misconduct.

FOX 17 retrieved the body camera footage of the incident involving Al Willis and Officer Kevin Wildey.

Police were originally called to respond to an "aggressive and pushy" salesperson going door to door who refused to show an ID.

Employed by Nordic Energy, Al Willis was offering lower gas prices within a trailer park, which is considered private property where they can set their own rules for soliciting.

A resident there called the police because soliciting is not allowed within the park's property.

Shortly after, he drove to Meijer, where Officer Wildley responded to the call.

During the exchange, Willis discloses that he has a concealed pistol license and is carrying a weapon.

When Officer Wildey asks where the weapon is located, Willis responds, "Don't worry about it. It's on my person."

At that time, Officer Wildey reaches to put Willis's arms behind his back and begins cuffing him.

South Haven police tell us it is standard practice to confiscate any weapons while responding to a call.

Willis believes the officer acted inappropriately, saying, "He didn’t even give me time to explain myself. He jumped out of the car accusing me already, but saying already what I was doing. So I was completely confused on what direction am I going here."

Willis has filed a complaint against the officer.

South Haven Police Department issues the following response:

We received a call Thursday complaining of a salesperson who was described as pushy and aggressive when going door to door, refusing to show an ID when asked as is common courtesy when representing a company, particularly during the pandemic.

When our officer responded, and approached the person, our officer was told the person was carrying a gun and had a concealed pistol license. As is our department’s standard protocol, the officer asked to be shown the weapon but was refused. Any time our officers are aware a weapon is on scene, we are required to remove that weapon while we investigate. This is done for the safety of all involved.

Following Department procedures, our officer removed the weapon while verifying the person did, indeed, have a CPL license. During this process, our officer learned this person had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from another agency for canvassing without a permit. He also had two prior complaints leading up to the warrant (see attached).

Our officers are routinely kept apprised of information regarding scammers who target elderly and other vulnerable individuals, especially during the pandemic. Our officer advised the person he could take care of the warrant directly with the other department then released him.

On Friday, we received a complaint from the person in question. I spoke with that person directly and said that I would look into the complaint. It’s unfortunate the person chose to take that complaint first to social media and then to the media without giving us the opportunity to look into the claims. We have begun that process and, in light of the allegations, are asking another law enforcement agency to review the incident to ensure all protocols were followed.

As a Department, we strive to protect the lives and property of citizens living in or visiting our community through the unbiased enforcement of laws while enhancing our community’s quality of life and fostering productive relationships between the City government and those we serve.

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