Clare County Review & Marion Press News

GOP activist to represent himself on fight charges

By Kaitlyn Campbell

A GOP activist will be representing himself in court on charges that are involved with a fight with another Republican at the Doherty Hotel on July 8.
James F. Chapman, 63, appeared in the Clare County District Court on Jan. 30 for arraignment on a bench warrant, which was issued by a judge after he failed to show for a pretrial hearing in September. At the hearing, Chapman invoked his right to defend himself at trail, and the judge authorized it.
Chapman’s trial will begin on April 18, and pretrials are scheduled for Feb. 21 and March 20.
In September, Chapman was arraigned on counts of assault and battery and disturbing the peace. These charges are misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 93 and 90 days in jail, respectively, and a $500 fine.
The charges stem from a fight that occurred at the Doherty Hotel between Chapman and Clare County Republican Chair Mark L. DeYoung during a Michigan GOP meeting in a conference room.
DeYoung told police that he was in the meeting when a locked door began to rattle. He said he then got up and went to investigate, and as soon as he opened the door, he was kicked in the crotch.
DeYoung said he took off his eyeglasses because he thought he was going to get punched, and Chapman charged at him and tackled him. DeYoung hit a chair and landed on his back.
Chapman denied there was a fight when he was interviewed in the parking lot. He stated that he was a member of the Wayne 6th Congressional District Republican Committee and had an issue with being “locked out” of the meeting. He said he was listening at the door when DeYoung came up to him and asked if he was messing with the door.
Chapman said DeYoung threatened a fight and Chapman told him to “come outside and do it.”
Police also interviewed witnesses to the fight. Their recollections of it were varied, but they agreed that Chapman had been making noise at the door.
Both man said they wanted to press charges against each other in later detailed statements emailed to police. DeYoung has not been charged with a crime.

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