Wording OK’d on one recall petition for Warren councilman, 2nd denied

Wording OK’d on one recall petition for Warren councilman, 2nd denied


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Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski (Photo: City of Warren)

Language on one proposed recall petition against controversial Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski was approved this month, while wording on a second petition was denied Wednesday.

The first-term councilman is accused in court of illegally detaining and handcuffing a woman who put Black Lives Matter stickers on signs supporting then-President Donald Trump during a Trump rally in Eastpointe in October.

He also has been taking heat after he stood with counterprotesters at a September march to support a Black family that lives in his council district and had their home and vehicles vandalized because they had a Black Lives Matter sign in their front window. He showed up in military attire with a gun on his hip and carrying a large Trump flag.

Wording pertaining to Kabacinski’s actions during these two events appeared in the proposed recall petition that was denied Wednesday by the Macomb County Election Commission.

County Treasurer Larry Rocca and Clerk Anthony Forlini, both Republicans, voted no to the language. Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, a Democrat who took the place of Probate Judge Kathryn George, voted to approve the wording.

Bridget Quinn, who filed the proposed petition, said she plans to resubmit the petition with different language. She said she was disappointed the commission voted along party lines and did not say why the language was rejected.

The three-member election commission judges the clarity and factuality of the wording on proposed recall petitions. If it approves the language (with no appeal), the petitions can be circulated in an effort to gather enough voter signatures to force a recall election.

More: Warren councilman faces criminal charges for ‘arresting’ woman over Trump signs

Less than two weeks ago, the election commission voted 2-1 to approve different language on a separate petition to recall Kabacinski.

That language stated he should be recalled for his no vote at the Nov. 24 City Council meeting in opposition to the proposed settlement and consent judgment   in the lawsuit Pinebrook Warren LLC versus the city of Warren regarding marijuana provisioning center licenses. That recall petition language was filed by former Warren City Councilman Robert Boccomino.

Rocca and Wickersham approved the wording on that recall petition while Forlini opposed. Kabacinski has not appealed that decision to the Macomb County Circuit Court, according to a search of online records Wednesday.

Kabacinski, 47, appeared in a military police uniform for Wednesday’s election commission meeting, which was held online. He also wore the uniform for his arraignment in district court on the criminal charges in October.

Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski (bottom left) appears in a military police uniform during a Macomb County Election Commission meeting Jan. 20, 2021 regarding proposed recall petition language filed against him. (Photo: Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press)

More: Warren councilman wears military police uniform to arraignment

According to police, Kabacinski chased down and handcuffed a 24-year-old Eastpointe woman after she put three Black Lives Matters stickers on Trump signs that were placed on the boulevard at the October rally. The woman was not criminally charged.

When police arrived, they found her sitting next to Kabacinski with her hands handcuffed behind her back. An officer immediately took the woman out of the handcuffs, according to a police report.

Kabacinski told C&G Newspapers he detained the woman because she acted to “breach the peace” by putting a 5-by-8-inch Black Lives Matter sticker on a Trump-Pence sign. He claimed he is a former military police officer and federal law allows him to detain those who breach the peace or break the law.

Kabacinski has not been censured or removed by his council colleagues.

More: Victim of Warren racial attacks to city councilman: ‘You need to resign’

On Wednesday, several people urged the election commission to approve the language on the most recent proposed recall petition.

Jordan Weber, who is Black and lives in Warren, said Kabacinski has failed as a council member, counterprotested against justice for his residents and is showing his allegiance to far-right groups. She said he is “not for the people and he must be removed.”

Warren resident Joel Rutherford said the residents of the city’s District 5, which Kabacinski represents, “should be allowed to choose someone more inclusive.”

Quinn, who lives in Kabacinski’s district, said: “I can’t overstate how important it is that we remove him.”

Warren City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski wore a military police uniform to his arraignment. (Photo: Eastpointe Police Department)

Her petition mentioned his participation in the counterprotest at the march, saying he “falsely portrayed himself as a police officer,” as well as a Sept. 22 council meeting in which he said he believed the organizers of the march were affiliated with terrorist organizations and should have been arrested and detained. Her petition also included the arrest at the rally in Eastpointe.

Kabacinski told the commission there’s been no judgment in his criminal case. A March 2 pretrial is scheduled in 38th District Court in Eastpointe on misdemeanor charges of impersonating a  police officer and assault and battery.

Kabacinski said the City Council issued a statement about the crimes at the family’s home and he wrote a letter to former U.S. Attorney General William Barr requesting federal assistance in the case.

Kabacinski also said he was on private property during the march, wearing a military police shirt with “veteran” on the back and supporting law enforcement. He added that openly carrying a firearm in Michigan is not a crime.

“There is nothing in this petition language that should be considered true at all,” he said.

Contact Christina Hall: chall@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.

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