Pastor in court for obstruction; he wants justice for use of force

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The Rev. David Alexander Bullock embraced supporters outside the courthouse in Highland Park Monday. 

This coming three weeks after the activist pastor and campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar was arrested outside Greater St. Matthew Church in a run-in with an officer.

"A 6-foot-5, 270-pound Caucasian police officer picked me up by my lapels and tossed me to the street like a rag doll - it's horrifying - horrifying," he said.

It all started when police were called to Bullock's church after a woman with a mental illness assaulted a mother and daughter. Bullock says when police arrived, he tried to help them but he says he was instead manhandled and placed under arrest.

Police say he was interfering with their investigation. He is formally charged with obstructing police and attempting to escape, both misdemeanors. But Bullock says the wrong person is facing charges in this case -- he blames the officer, Keath Bartynski.

"I want justice, we demand justice," Bullock said. "There obviously are issues with use of force," he said.

Bullock pointed to Bartynski's past. He was found guilty of assault a few years ago when he was an officer in Bay City and was sentenced to six months’ probation.

"I'm not saying people can't change but he does have a history - we should judge him in light of his history," Bullock said. "We should judge me in light of my history. I've never been arrested before for anything like this."

Bullock's supporters agree and say they will stand with their pastor and pray the charges against him are dismissed.

"Instead of police de-escalating the situation they escalated the situation by physically picking him up, handcuffing him and taking him to a jail cell," said D. Etta Wilcoxon, the people's advocate. "In our estimation it was disrespectful. We want the city of Highland Park to apologize for that, we want the officer involved to be fired." 

As for that officer, Bartynski is still on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.