Firebrand GOP activist James F. Chapman, aged 63, has been officially charged with assaulting a fellow member during a Michigan Republican committee meeting held at a Clare hotel.
The charges include a count of assault and battery and disturbing the peace, both of which are misdemeanors and carry potential penalties of up to 93 and 90 days in jail, respectively, along with a $500 fine.
Chapman was arraigned by Clare County District Judge Steven R. Worpell Jr. and released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond. His case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Joshua M. Farrell on September 26.
The incident leading to Chapman’s charges occurred on July 8 at the Doherty Hotel in Clare. During a meeting of the Michigan GOP’s executive committee, attended by Clare County Republican Party Chair Mark L. DeYoung, a locked door began rattling.
DeYoung, complaining of rib and lower side pain, explained that he was kicked in the groin when he investigated the noise and opened the door. Chapman then charged and tackled him, causing DeYoung to hit a chair and land on his back.
Witnesses confirmed that Chapman had been outside the door, making noise. DeYoung later reported that he suffered stress fractures in his spine and bruised ribs and muscles, providing photographic evidence of his injuries.
Chapman’s account differed, claiming that he and others knew they would be excluded from the meeting. When DeYoung approached him, he accused Chapman of attempting to break in, which Chapman denied.
Chapman asserted that DeYoung tried to assault him with clenched fists, and he merely defended himself by restraining DeYoung with a wrestling move. DeYoung has not been charged with any crimes in this incident.
In a related incident at the Doherty Hotel in April, Kalamazoo Republican Party Chair Kelly Sackett and Macomb County GOP Secretary Melissa Pehlis were charged with disturbing the peace and disorderly jostling.
Both charges are misdemeanors and carry potential penalties of up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Sackett pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace, while Pehlis’s case is ongoing with a pre-trial set for September 19.