Official, husband, dispute Detroit police account
PITTSBURGH (AP) — An elected official from western Pennsylvania and her husband are disputing the account of Detroit police about a confrontation in that city last week.
Detroit police allege that Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner interfered with officers as they were preparing to remove her husband, Khari Mosley, from the premises of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel early Wednesday. Wagner, a Democrat, was arrested and spent about 12 hours in jail.
The former state representative, who is serving her second term as chief fiscal officer of Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, on Saturday called the experience “appalling” and said their actions had been grossly mischaracterized.
No charges were immediately filed, although Wayne County prosecutors said they were reviewing a warrant request by Detroit police.
The couple said they went to a concert in the city and then to a restaurant, where they said they had a steak dinner and each had several glasses of wine. They then returned to the hotel, where he went to the hotel bar but she went up to their hotel room and fell asleep.
Later, he wanted to return to the room but realized he did not have the keycard needed to go up to the elevator. He asked for another one at the desk, but since the room was in Wagner’s name, the request was refused, he said. Her cellphone was on “do not disturb” mode, and hotel employees said they tried the room phone but got no answer. Wagner said she never heard the phone ring. Mosley said he asked someone to go up and knock on the door, but staff declined to do so, and he asked to wait in the lobby but was eventually told he would have to go to another hotel.
“This is when the situation escalates because I respond I think the way any rational thinking hotel guest would respond,” he said. “The penalty for losing my hotel key is now I have to go to a completely (different) hotel and book a completely different room?”
Police chief James Craig said Friday that officers were called to the hotel for a report of a “disorderly person, someone under the influence of alcohol, creating a disturbance.” He said Mosley had fallen asleep at some point and was also banging on a door. Mosley said he didn’t remember doing anything like that, and the alcohol he drank had been spread out over a period of several hours that also included a big meal.
When officers arrived, Mosley said he agreed to be handcuffed so officers could take him up to the room to tell his wife he was going to another hotel. Wagner said she was awakened and saw her husband in handcuffs surrounded by officers and security guards, and couldn’t get a straight answer to her questions, so she began recording video on her cellphone. She said she followed them to the elevator, and continued to question officers, concerned for her husband’s safety, and at one point was pushed to the ground and bruised.
Craig said officer body-worn camera video shows Wagner several times “placing her hands on the officers, not in a very aggressive way but she was at least pushing and touching six or seven times.” She said she may have brushed officers when she tried to get by them to see her husband. After Wagner was arrested, Mosley said, he was allowed to go back into the room and pack their belongings as hotel security watched before he went to another hotel.
Craig said officers behaved appropriately and used “tremendous restraint” during their interaction with Wagner and Mosley. He said both “appeared to be under some level of intoxication,” based on his training and his viewing of the body camera video. Both denied being intoxicated during the encounter.
Wagner said the situation has traumatized her entire family, including her 7- and 9-year-old sons, who were not on the trip.
“I’m still in shock and have not even yet had the time to digest everything that happened because (I’m) trying to make sure our kids are OK,” she said. “Knowing that your dad was in handcuffs, that your mom was in jail, it’s traumatic for them as well.”