Judge Rules to Allow Important Evidence in Mattawan Officer Involved Shooting Charges

Sarissa Montague

Attorney Sarissa Montague of Kalamazoo-based Levine & Levine was able to convince a judge that two key items must be presented during the trial of Mattawan, Michigan, police officer Chelsey Omilian. In November 2017, Omilian was charged with reckless use of a firearm, after firing five shots while trying to stop a car that had been reported stolen. The charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

During an evidentiary hearing in Van Buren County District Court on Aug.23, Montague argued that she should be allowed to share evidence with a jury about what officer Omilian knew about the suspect who was being accused of stealing the car.  This information including the suspect’s name, his past felonious criminal background, and that he most likely had a gun in his presence. Second, Montague also won the right to have the judge instruct the jury that police officers do have the right to discharge their firearms when a known felon is fleeing.

“This is a big win in our defense for Officer Omilian,” said Montague.  “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.”

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