Belding Police Officer Investigated Following Fight Outside Bar

BELDING, Mich. — A Belding Police officer is under investigation after being accused of getting in a fight while off-duty.

A woman who is nearly nine months pregnant said that she was punched while trying to break up that fight outside of the Grattan Irish Pub.

“It scared me,” said Ashley Geldersma, Belding resident.

On Oct. 11, Geldersma said she walked to the pub looking for her brother and future brother-in-law.  She said what she found was a fight going on in a car the parking lot.  She claims the off-duty officer was in the passenger side, choking her family member.

When she tried to break up the fight, she was struck.

“I got hit on this side here,” said Ashley, pointing to the right side of her stomach.

She said she had to go to the hospital for two days following the incident due to some resulting contractions.  Ashley said a male bystander finally helped to pull the officer away.

“I would love to thank that guy because he helped me stop the whole thing,” she said.

Ashley said some of the officer’s belongings were inside of her car after the fight because he was physically in her car wrestling with her family members.

She said she was told to turn the items into the Kent County Sheriff’s Office as evidence in the case.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office confirms that they did investigate, saying they were called to respond to the fight at around 11:30 p.m. and the off-duty Belding officer was involved.

They passed their report on to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Belding Police Department also issued a statement through the city manager’s office.

It said, “City administration is aware of and is internally addressing the events regarding your inquiry.  However, the City’s policy is not to discuss or disclose any information with any person, organization or entity regarding any City personnel.”

We learned that the same officer was investigated following a shooting in January when “Bud” Rowley was killed after he shot at a state trooper and the Belding officer returned fire.

The Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office decided that the officer was justified in using force in that case.

Ashley said she hasn’t had a problem with him on duty in the small community in the past.

“He’s a good officer,” she said. “He’s a good guy.”

However, she says because he’s well-known, he may not be receiving the consequences she feels he should for the off-duty fight.

“He not only scared me, but put me and my unborn child in danger and I could have lost my kid,” she said.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said the prosecutor indicated that they are not issuing charges on anyone involved in the fight.  That may have been due to a number of witness statements that didn’t clearly indicated who started the argument or the fight.

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42 comments

  • Warper

    F'n bullcrap. If it was me my ame would have been plastered all ver the news and I'd be in jail while ther prosecutor gets with his think tank to figure out how many books they could throw at me!

  • kdude

    Nine months pregnant at a bar breaking up fights and she is worried about her unborn baby, HMMMM! Let's hope her decision improve in the future.

    • Ann

      She has every right to be where every she wants to be…. don't tell me you wouldn't try to break up a fight and defend a family member that was being assaulted. Why was an off duty office assaulting someone in a car??? That's what needs to be addressed… sounds like the office has a serious temper issue.

      • kdude

        That's right Ann she has the "right" to be a complete moron and put her child in danger. The question is, why would she? Stay home and take care of that baby you supposedly care about!!!!

  • CommonSense

    So, what's not being said in this story? In a parking lot at 11:30 at night when 8 1/2 months pregnant.-and walked down the street to get there Why was she not at home and in bed…..than again, that's probably part of what got her into this mess……

    • Disgusted

      Your commonsense is blown out the window. Do you know that person to cast a nasty remark like that??? I bet not. An adult woman has every right to be where ever she want to be. What if she just got out of work, or was a designated driver for someone??? The issue is an off duty officer was ASSAULTING someone of her family – the officer has a SERIOUS problem hitting someone in a car and then a pregnant woman. Get real.

    • ivan

      Since her brother was there its safe to assume he drove it there. That didn’t even require thought on my part its right in the article.

  • ivan

    Taking a life, even lawfully, will mess with your head. Your never the same. On another note who are the knuckledragging stormtroopers talking poop about a 9 month pregnant woman who was assaulted. She has every right to be at a bar even if you don’t like it. What about the behavior of the cop who is supposed to know and follow the law? Isn’t it nice how no charges are filed because they can’t determine who started the fight. Convenient.

  • Lindsey

    I can't believe all this BS about her putting herself in harm's way or judging her for being at a bar. If she's of legal age, it doesn't matter where she goes. Maybe she was acting as a DD…pretty common and simple. And anyone who knows this officer knows he's had SEVERAL instances of fighting/violence while off-duty…and just like this woman said, he's "well-known" so he walks away unscathed. Hoping she and her baby are ok, and this officer finally gets what's coming to him.

    • kdude

      Being pregnant and hanging out with drunk people at a bar is a recipe for disaster not to mention being involved in a physical altercation. Poor decision on her part. Cops fighting in bar parking lots are also wrong and no way should people ignore this and allow a cover up.

  • Ann

    This should NOT go with out some serious evaluation of repercussion for actions that any regular citizen would have been arrested for if they were not affiliated with a law position. An off duty officer has NO business beating up anyone in any car… UNLESS the OFF DUTY officer was assisting someone in trouble. Sounds like there is a major drinking problem that really needs to be addressed NOW. And the pregnant woman should not have had a hand laid on her. She was trying to break up a fight of someone assaulting her brother… she didn't assault the officer and he punches her in the abdomen??? I would dare say a serious psych evaluation needs to be done on that officer before any future altercations happen that might be very very serious.

      • twinsmom110

        so its ok for a man to assault a pregnant woman , regardless of where she is and why… the rest of us call 911 when people start harrassing and fighting , but no, its ok for him to take matters into his own hands cuz he's a cop,

        • Disgusted

          Kdude… Do you know her or her family??? I bet not… typical idiot remark. That off duty cop had NO RIGHT beating on anyone in a car, and she had the right to approach the cop to stop it. She has the right to be anywhere she chooses. Whether is was an off duty cop or not, that drunk had no business beating on someone in a car, but being in the law profession, don't you think he should get his sh#% together and grow up??? This is not the first off duty altercation this man has done to others drinking. So unless you KNOW this family, you have NO idea what all of the circumstance are. Something you might do, eh???

          • know it all

            Geldersma Pethers check out their records on f.o.i.a big time druggies and thieves WELFARE RATS I’m proud of the officer for knocking some heads I wish I was there to help bring out the trash.

  • anonymous

    What our wonderful media lacks in their story is the reason the officer was reaching in the car. They forgot to tell us that this officer was jumped by 3 members of this girls soon to be family and they stole his phone and other things from him. He was reaching in their car trying to get his things back and was getting hit while doing so. They forgot to mention also that her soon to be family members have very lengthy criminal records which they could get through foia. the girl forgot to mention they called the officer numerous times from his own cell phone threatening his family. But why do a complete report for the people fox 17. Get a clue.

    • ivan

      So its ok for an off duty cop to act like an outlaw and assault a pregnant woman? He should have called the cops. Its not like they wouldnt believe him. Unless this a regular thing for this cop and he thought he could get away with it. He hit a pregnamt woman and your defending him, I hope you and he end up in a ditch together.

    • belding resident

      thank you for injecting some facts and some common sense into this conversation. i find it VERY hard to believe that the officer involved would assault a pregnant woman on purpose. it seems like she put herself into a situation that she shouldn't have and got injured as a result. if she attempted to pull him away from the vehicle she knowingly put herself in danger. It's unfortunate that she got hurt but she should have let someone handle the situation.

      If her family was threatening the officer's family and had stolen his belongings, they aren't completely innocent in this. they are lucky the officer didn't press charges.

      • Disgusted

        this is not the first time this office, while drunk, this cop has had fights/altercations while off duty. He has a major problem with alcohol. And he was beating the guy in the car… the guy who was being beaten was talking to our family about it. This officer needs some MAJOR psych help… especially after he shot and killed the guy last spring outside of Belding.

  • Ralph

    Sounds like the cop acted correctly.
    I'd punch someone messing with me to, if she's too pregnant to be hit, she's too pregnant to be fighting.

    • Disgusted

      Typical hick… they serve food there. And since when can't a woman go into an establishment because she is pregnant??? Per se freedom in America… the off duty cop was DRUNK and so way out of line it reeks of stench. Hopefully anon, you are NOT from around here. We have enough narrow minded hicks as it is…

  • Tracy

    Ok people lets remember off duty police are humans .They deserve to have a life also and lets face it not all bar fights are prosecuted.If it were me I would be locked up and in jail but oh well usally if their are no injuries no charges are filied.Now to the pregnant mother shedding tears on T.V saying this off duty cop put her unborn child in danger?The prosecution should investigate her as she put her child in danger just being in a place at that time of night when everyone is drinking and at anytime a fight could break out and she could have been hit in the stomach by a flying body pool stick.She needs to understand that the percentage of an accident happening to her unborn baby to be hurt is greater in any place at that time of morning where alcohol is being consumed lets face it their are people who are just mad at the world that drink going to bars to just find fights.

    • Disgusted

      Yeah, the pregnant lady was having labor complications because of the DRUNK off duty officer's behavior. He has a drinking problem… and a power trip ego chip that needs to be knocked of his shoulder. That establishment serves food and alcohol… she had EVERY right to be there and every right to try to have the office stop beating the guy in the car. This officer needs to get his act together. This pregnant girl did NOT deserved to be punched. PERIOD.

    • Disgusted

      They serve food at that establishment and a pregnant woman has every right to be anywhere she so chooses. That DRUNK off duty cop had no business fighting someone in their car or slugging a woman, pregnant or not. He has a serious problem that is reeling out of control. And because he is in law enforcement, he gets nothing charged against him. But he caused the woman to go into labor. He is a cop… shouldn't he be somewhere else besides around people drinking & probably driving??? Unless he was on duty?? Now see how stupid that sounds…. he could be there and so could the woman. Just that the off duty cop was DRUNK – she wasn't.

  • Dan

    Wow, if the media would only report the whole story people could understand. If you don't want to get hit because you are nine months pregnant then don't jump into the middle of a fight. If you don't want to get burned don't put your hand in a fire, common sense to me.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, nice reporting Fox News. First of all, no charges were filed due to too many conflicting stories. Way to keep the identity of the Belding Police Officer undisclosed with the blurred face picture of him only to mention that he had been involved in a “shooting incident” earlier in the year. Geez, I wonder if I can figure that one out!! And by the way, his actions in that “incident” were spot on, keeping the citizens of Belding safe from an unstable person who FIRED HIS WEAPON AT THE OFFICER FIRST!! Second, the “Mommy to be”, and I use that term loosely, should have kept her almost born child away from a bar fight. Hello, “Mom’s” are suppose to protect their children at all times…That is her number one job! Also, did she really get “punched” in the stomach on purpose or did SHE put herself in harms way and get accidently elbowed, bumped, etc. I have also heard (as stated in above comments) that the other two involved in the fight have nice little “incidents” from the passed and I have witnessed Sherriff and State Police cars at their home on several occations, domestics, drugs & theft. Miss Dowling, why did you not bring that into this report?? I assume because it is just as unimportant as bringing up the officer’s “incident”!! What would it have to do with a bar fight two weeks ago?

    Like I said….nice reporting Fox News!! And Good Luck to that unborn child…it’s gonna need it!!!

  • twinsmom110

    Regardless of what where and why.. the simple fact is, the police officer instead of taking matters into his own hands should have called 911 to handle the dispute .. but he assaulted people and is now getting away with it, which isn't surprising considering if it was a civilian.. we'd be arrested and in jail… not just the one but all people involved.. but becuase it was a cop, lets not press any charges because we don't want to tip the apple cart and risk getting him in trouble.. when this isnt the first or probably the last.. You can only sweep it under the rug for so long before you finally have to take action.. hopefully no one gets seriously hurt before this happens…

    • belding resident

      why didn't they (the poor pregnant victim and her family) call the cops right then? if he was assaulting everyone, why didn't ANYONE call the police and get it handled right then and there instead of waiting for weeks to come out with the story and cry about the fact that he hasn't been punished? he couldn't have been arrested for the fight because no one called the proper authorities.

      and let me remind you that there is only ONE side of the story here. clearly, something is missing.

      • Disgusted

        This cop has a history of assaults while off duty from other individuals… a typical drinking problem. And I highly doubt he had a D.D that night. As an officer, he had NO business fighting DRUNK in a car, whether he was off duty or not. And nothing being done to discipline him??? He shot and killed a man this past spring outside of Belding. This is an individual that needs major psych evaluation. Before someone gets seriously hurt/killed.

      • Disgusted

        And this happened just a few days ago… the hospital had to work to stop the labor as the blow to her stomach created complications. That cop is less than a man for what he did. And sure has all of the red flags of an alcoholic.

  • Aaron

    Another example of the media focusing on the negatives in order to create a “bad guy”. Thanks fox 17 for doing a poor job of investigating and sharing half of the facts.

  • anonymous

    Fox why don’t you get a clue and foia the police report before you bring lies to the public. You will learn that the poor pregnant girl says she is not aware of who hit her stomach and if it was the officer she knows he would not do that on purpose. Yup those are her words. You will also learn that the hospital had to be locked down because her belligerent soon to be family who initially assaulted the officer were threatening doctors and other hospital staff. Oh these poor innocent people. Get a clue fox. If your employees are to incompetent to be journalists then find new ones. Not reporting facts and reporting on your own opinion is not journalism. Heck I knew this and I don’t even have a college education.

  • traci

    well I am sorry to say this but the cops is and has been an ass for a long time he thinks he can get away with anything chasing woman in his cop car and i know of other fights he has been in and has gotten away with starting them as i see it Belding is not safe with this cop ON staff