Detroit/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 21, 2024
Michigan State Rep. Neil Friske Arrested in Lansing on Felony Charges Amid Primary Election CampaignSource: Google Street View

Early Thursday morning, Michigan State Rep. Neil Friske, a Republican representing Charlevoix and Emmet counties, was arrested in Lansing on undisclosed charges. Lansing Police Department dispatched officers to the 2100 block of Forest Road, near a property listed as belonging to Friske, after receiving reports of "a male with a gun, as well as possible shots that were fired," The Detroit News reported.

According to the same report, police arrested Friske, a representative of the House Freedom Caucus, at approximately 2:45 a.m. for an offense that has been described as felony-level. The lawmaker, who is also a first-term member of the state legislature, is being held in custody and expected to be arraigned on Friday or Saturday pending a review of charges by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office. Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane indicated he was awaiting a warrant request from Lansing police.

The circumstances of Friske's arrest have stirred discussion, coming as they do on the cusp of the distribution of absentee ballots for the upcoming primary election, in which Friske faces a challenge. His campaign responded to the incident on his Facebook page, stating, "As many of us know, Rep Friske is always exercising his 2nd Amendment right", suggesting a possible involvement of a firearm in the incident. Their statement, as per Detroit Free Press, called the arrest "suspect" and asked for prayers while asserting the timing of the arrest was questionable.

Rival candidate Parker Fairbairn, offering a contrasting viewpoint, emphasized the presumption of innocence afforded to Friske but also spoke disparagingly of his opponent's legislative record and moral standing. Friske, known for his conservative stance and involvement with several advocacy groups including the National Rifle Association, has made headlines previously for dissenting on several legislative matters. According to the Detroit Free Press, he was one of only two representatives to vote against legislation focused on preventing AI-generated 'deep fake' pornography last week. His campaign contends that the arrest is "highly suspect" given its proximity to the upcoming primaries.

As additional information surrounding the incident and potential charges continues to unfold, the Michigan House has yet to issue an official statement. House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, informed of the arrest, told reporters he had no comment pending the release of more details by law enforcement. Meanwhile, Lansing Police’s investigation is still ongoing, and an arraignment is anticipated to follow shortly after the prosecutor's charge review.