Hartford Police Officer Sent to Trial in Excessive Force Case

Agency: Attorney General

Media contact: Lynsey Mukomel 517-599-2746
Public inquiries: 517-335-7622


September 2, 2021

LANSING - A judge ruled there is enough evidence to send a Hartford officer to trial for misconduct and assault and battery, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.  

Matthew Mistretta, 31, was arraigned in May on the following in the 7th District Court of Van Buren County: 

  • two counts of assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor; and 
  • one count of misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony. 

Following a preliminary hearing Thursday, Judge Arthur Clarke bound the case over to circuit court. 

"My office will continue to hold public servants accountable who fail to uphold the integrity of their oath to protect and serve," Nessel said. 

Last August, Hartford Police Officer Mathew Mistretta conducted a traffic stop on a truck that was speeding and being driven erratically.  

Bystander video of the resulting incident showed Mistretta removing a male driver from the truck, shoving him into the side of the truck to handcuff him and then slamming him onto the hood of the patrol car. Mistretta then proceeded to take the individual to the ground and knelt on him in a similar manner to the George Floyd murder. 

At no point during the arrest was the man resisting or obstructing Mistretta, according to video evidence. A passenger in the truck reported hearing the driver tell Mistretta he couldn't breathe. 

Mistretta's first circuit court appearance is set for Sept. 20 at 1:45 p.m. before Judge Kathleen Brickley. 

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Please note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.