CADILLAC — The 23-year-old man who was charged with multiple offenses including police officer assault, resist or obstruct after he was involved in an Oct. 21 incident recently took a plea and was sentenced in 84th District Court.
Christian J. Corrigan was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 16 days credited on Nov. 15 to guilty pleas of possession of marijuana or synthetic equivalents, operating a motor vehicle without security and operating an unregistered vehicle. In addition, Corrigan also was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 16 days credited for guilty pleas to allowing a suspended, revoked or denied person to operate a motor vehicle and disorderly person — jostling. He also was ordered to pay $625 in fines and fees.
He also was sentenced to seven days in jail with seven days credited for guilty pleas to unlawful use of a license plate, operating an unregistered vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle without security. In addition, Corrigan was given the same sentence for a guilty plea to allowing a suspended, revoked or denied person to operate a motor vehicle. He also was ordered to pay $575 in fines.
Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore said prior to the Oct. 21 incident, Corrigan was arrested on Oct. 19 by troopers from the Michigan State Police for several traffic offenses. Elmore said Corrigan was illegally operating his uninsured and unregistered vehicle while his licenses was suspended. The vehicle also bore an improper plate, which was seized by troopers. Corrigan was released on bond on Oct. 20.
In a release last month from the Cadillac Police Department, it said officers from the department were dispatched to the area of First Avenue around 12:55 p.m. on Oct. 21 for the report of a suspicious occupied vehicle sitting in front of the home of the person who called the police. The caller said the vehicle had been in front of their home for more than an hour, police said.
Once on scene, officers saw the vehicle matching the description given by the caller parked on the street. Police said the officer circled the block and then observed the vehicle now driving in the area without a license plate. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle in a nearby alley.
Corrigan was interviewed by police and arrested.
“When the officers went to arrest him, he became resistant. As he said (Thursday) in court during his plea, Corrigan knew that they would find what was in his pocket,” Elmore said. “During the lawful search of his person, officers found three smoking pipes, a pocket torch, and two baggies. One of those baggies contained marijuana. He simply did not want them to find it.”
The aftermath of the arrest, however, made the arrest an international incident.
Cadillac Director of Public Safety Adam Ottjepka, Captain Eric Eller and City Manager Marcus Peccia held a press conference on Oct. 24 to dispel rumors that were spreading about the incident. During Corrigan’s arrest, a bystander took a partial video of the incident and posted it on social media. As a result, the video reached thousands of people worldwide.
A crowd gathered at the scene of the arrest and at least one person offered to have the suspect’s car parked on their property instead of it being towed. The full dash camera video of the incident from the officer’s cruiser was released to disclaim a number of social media reports that claimed police brutality and other claims about the incident that weren’t true.
As a result of the partial video’s release, police said they had to investigate several threats to kill the officers involved and family members of the officers. The FBI office in Traverse City was notified of the threats and aided in the investigation.
As of Friday, police said those threats were still being investigated.
“This conviction should also send the message to others. These days, everyone instantly has a video camera in their pockets which can immediately connect to the world. The temptation is to quickly pass uninformed judgment and broadcast carelessly negative opinions and comments,” Elmore said. “In each case, the officers did the right thing and were professional. In each case, Corrigan was knowingly breaking the law.”