PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is explaining her side of what happened after an incident in a Detroit hotel.
Wagner says she has deep bruises on both arms, a sprained wrist and a wrenched back. She says she sustained the injuries during a confrontation with police in a Detroit hotel, an arrest the police chief there calls justified.
“Certainly she was taken to the ground, but there was a reason for that,” Detroit City Police Chief James Craig said in a news conference Friday.
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In an interview with KDKA, however, Wagner and her husband, Khari Mosley, blamed the hotel and the police for turning a romantic getaway into a nightmare.
“The two of us, we did nothing wrong. We did everything that a guest in a hotel, a guest at a Westin hotel, would have done that is normal,” Wagner said. “None of this should have ever happened and at so many points, they could have corrected this, but it just got worse and worse and worse. It became more of a nightmare every step of the way.”
Returning to the hotel from dinner and a concert, Wagner went to bed when Mosley had a nightcap. Police say they were called to the hotel because he had become intoxicated and disruptive.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Were you intoxicated?”
Mosley: “I had a few glasses of wine and a hearty meal. I had a wonderful evening with my wife, but I was a typical frustrated guest.”
Mosley had lost his room key car and could not persuade the hotel to give him another. After an argument, the police arrived and handcuffed him, bringing him up to the room.
Wagner began to record a video of the encounter on her cell phone when the police said they were taking Mosley away but would not say where.
The following exchange can be heard in Wagner’s cell phone video:
Officer: “You are about to go. You’re not allowed in here.”
Mosley: “Where am I gonna go?”
Officer: “You are not allowed in this hotel.”
Wagner: “Where is he going?”
Officer: “None of your business. He’ll call and let you know.”
Wagner: “No, no, no, he is my business.”
Officer: “He’ll call and let you know.”
The officer then closes the hotel door, leaving Wagner in her room and Mosley and the officers outside in the hallway.
Wagner opens the door, saying, “No, no, no, sir! That’s not how it goes.”
WEB EXTRA: Watch Wagner’s full cell phone video —
Mosley was not under arrest, but police led him away. Police procedure experts say officers may handcuff someone without an arrest for their own protection but those same experts say police must explain why.
“I know that when I ask a question, particularly if they have someone in handcuffs — and [Mosley]’s asking in just the same way, ‘What have I done? What have I done?’ — and there are no answers, I know that’s wrong,” Wagner said.
In her video, Wagner says she felt it her right to get into the elevator ahead of the police and her husband in an effort to get an answer.
While the video seems to show that the officer pushing Wagner to the ground, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Wagner initiated the tussle and for this, he has requested she be prosecuted for assault and battery on a police officer.
“At some point, she puts her hand on the officer and the officer takes the wife to the ground,” Craig said at the news conference Friday.
Sheehan: “He said you precipitated it, that you pushed the officer. Did you push the officer?”
Wagner: “No, and that’s what you can see plainly on the video, and thank goodness that we have a video because this would be a very, very different situation if we did not.”
After injuries to her body, a night in jail and an avalanche of bad publicity, Wagner says she wants vindication.
“I want to see justice here. I want to see my name and my husband’s name cleared,” Wagner said.
If the Wayne County prosecutor decides to prosecute, Wagner says she will fight the charges. Going forward, she says she also intends to take on the Westin hotels and the Detroit Police Department.