A city councilman in Warren, Michigan, is facing charges of impersonating a public officer after he allegedly chased and handcuffed a woman for putting Black Lives Matter stickers on campaign signs for President Donald Trump.
The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office authorized the impersonation charge and an additional charge of assault and battery against the councilman, Eddie Kabacinski, an official confirmed to VICE News. Both offenses are misdemeanors.
The incident allegedly took place during a rally in support of President Trump on Oct. 14, according to the Detroit Free Press, in the city of Eastpointe, where nearly half of the 32,000 residents are Black.
At some point that afternoon, the 47-year-old Kabacinski encountered a 24-year-old woman who put three Black Lives Matter stickers on Trump signs, and allegedly grabbed her, according to the Free Press. She then allegedly sprayed him with silly string, after which Kabacinski handcuffed her.
Once police arrived, they immediately took the woman out of restraints, according to the Free Press, which reported that she is not facing criminal charges.
When asked about the incident last week, Kabacinski said he sometimes carries handcuffs, and that the woman was “promoting a domestic terrorist organization on a Trump sign,” according to a report from C&G Newspapers.
“That’s not the image that the Trump campaign or the Republican Party is trying to convey,” Kabacinski said of the stickers. “We are trying to get back to law and order in this country.”
He also told the outlet that as a former military police officer, he believed he had the right to detain the woman.
Kabacinski did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.
Black Lives Matter is not a domestic terrorist organization, although Trump ally Rudy Giuliani said in August he hoped the president would consider assigning that label to the movement, which is centered around protesting the police killings of Black people.
White supremacists and right-wing extremists have accounted for the majority of the domestic terror plots and attacks in the U.S. this year, according to analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy research organization.
The handcuff incident is just Kabacinski’s latest controversy.
He was one of the “Back the Blue” supporters who showed up to counter an anti-racism protest in Warren last month. The protest was organized by local activists after the home and car of a Black couple, both veterans, were vandalized in an alleged hate crime, potentially due to their own Black Lives Matter sign.
At the counterprotest, Kabacinski was armed and in military gear, according to C&G Newspapers. He later said at a Sept. 22 city council meeting that the anti-racism protesters included “Antifa and Black Lives Matter traitors,” according to the paper. He added that he believed the alleged hate crimes may have been committed by “outside agitators,” according to C&G Newspapers. Some residents of Warren were outraged by Kabacinski’s actions, and planned to ask him to resign.
The white man who eventually confessed to the alleged crimes against the Black family—which included shots fired at their home, slashed car tires, and a swastika painted on their vehicle—lived around the corner, according to WDIV, a Detroit NBC affiliate. The man, Michael Frederick, also allegedly confessed to spray-painting “pedophile” on the garage door of another home because the residents had a Joe Biden sign. Frederick said he didn’t target the Black family because of their race, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Macomb County is considered a political battleground in this year’s election, despite its proximity to the nearby Democratic stronghold Detroit. Trump won the blue-collar county by 53.6% in 2016.