Brian Ellison arrested at police run in Royal Oak

From Detroit Free Press:

A congressional candidate was arrested Saturday at a race in Royal Oak after, police said, he refused to stay out of the roadway.

Brian Ellison, who is running as a Libertarian for the U.S. House in Michigan’s 8th District, was arrested at the Royal Oak Police Department’s Run with the Police event while taking part in a protest over two recent fatal shootings by Royal Oak police.

Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said in an interview Sunday that Ellison was told to stay out of the roadway, but refused. O’Donohue said Ellison was charged with two misdemeanors accusing him of interfering with a government operation and resisting arrest. He was released on bond and will be arraigned at a later date.

Ellison could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. A video of the incident was posted on a Facebook page for Brian Ellison. In the video, Ellison can be heard saying he was “getting ready to run with the chief. They tried telling me I can’t be on the course because I’m not registered, but obviously this course is a street.”

Ellison can be seen in the video being arrested after going into the street. As they handcuffed him, he repeatedly says: “Get your hands off me.”

O’Donohue said Ellison was told beforehand not to interfere with the race.

“It was his intent to disrupt the event,” O’Donohue said.

Ellison gained media attention earlier this year after proposing a campaign to arm homeless people with guns. The 8th District seat, held by Republican Mike Bishop of Rochester, covers northern Oakland County.

Video of the arrest:

8 thoughts on “Brian Ellison arrested at police run in Royal Oak

  1. Starchild

    Kudos to Brian Ellison for bravely standing up for our rights to use the public streets! This was a bullshit arrest, and the police chief having been present at the scene bears direct responsibility.

    I gave the Royal Oaks Police Department a call at (248) 246-3500. The following conversation ensued:

    female staffer: Royal Oaks police.
    me: Hi. I’m calling to ask whether Brian Ellison is in custody.
    staffer: Are you a relative?
    me: Does it matter?
    staffer: Are you a relative?
    me: Does it matter whether I’m a relative or not?
    staffer: That’s why I’m asking.
    me: What’s why you’re asking?
    staffer: If you’re a relative
    me: I know you’re asking that, I’m asking why you’re asking, you haven’t told me why.
    staffer: Are you a relative?
    me: Why do you ask?

    Around this point, I heard a beeping on the phone and the person seemed to no longer be on the line.

    I hung up and called back, and I believe the same person answered. If I heard correctly, she identified herself as Jessica McNeil. I again asked whether Brian Ellison was in custody, and she again asked whether I am a relative. She still wouldn’t tell me why she was asking that. After a few more rounds of going back and forth, after I again asked whether he’s in custody, she said “hold on”.

    Again the beeping. I guessed she might be tracing the call – I have my number set on private by default – but decided to stay on the line this time. When she came back on the line, she indeed said she’d looked up my number, and told me no, Brian wasn’t in custody there. She gave me the number of the Oakland County Jail, (248) 858-1800, and said he might be there, or might have been released, she didn’t know.

    I asked why she had looked up my number, and she said because I wasn’t giving her info. I asked why they wanted my info, and she wouldn’t tell me. I asked whether it was standard operating procedure to trace the calls of people calling and asking for information who haven’t done anything wrong, and again she had no response. Her only answer as to why she looked up my number was because “we can”. When I kept asking about this, she said she had to go. I repeatedly asked to speak with a supervisor, but she failed to respond to that request and hung up the call.

    Sadly, this is often the kind of public service you get from the police.

    I called the number for the jail, (248) 858-1800, and got a voicemail system which provided an email address,, and a website, where the recording said you could click on “inmate locater”. Staying on the line and entering a prompt to indicate that you don’t know at which facility a person is being held gets you through to a live staffer.

    When I asked the staffer who answered about Brian, he looked up the spelling of the name and said Brian Ellison was not being held there. Although he seemed somewhat more friendly/cooperative than the woman at the Royal Oaks Police Department, he said he had no information on whether Brian had been held and had been released. I asked how one would find out and he suggested looking online. After further prompting, he said that when an inmate is released, their file is closed. I asked who takes custody of the files, and he said “Records”. “Now we’re maybe getting somewhere”, I said. I asked him for the number for Records, which he said is open business hours during the day, and he gave me the number (248) 858-5102.

    According to the sheriff’s website, Brian Ellison is not in custody. I encourage readers to call the Royal Oaks Police Department and let them know what you think of their policies – (248) 246-3500 – and write When libertarians are wrongfully arrested, the responsible authorities need to know that people are watching, and that they will pay a price in public relations and expect to receive phone calls and emails from rightfully outraged and concerned members of the public.

  2. Starchild

    NOTE: The conversation reported in my previous message is not an exact transcript, but my best recollection of the call.

    I also sent the following message via the Oakland County, Michigan, government website (

    When I called the Royal Oaks Police Department, a staffer there who answered and I believe gave her name as Jessica McNeil traced my call without my consent. All I was asking was whether a person was in custody. She wanted to know whether I was a relative, but wouldn’t tell me what the policy was on releasing information to relatives or non-relatives, or why she wanted to know.

    I would like to know what the policy is, and whether it is standard procedure for police to trace the calls of persons calling the police department without their consent when there is no probable cause to believe a person has done anything wrong. I consider it an unacceptable violation of privacy, and also don’t appreciate the stonewalling and reluctance to release information about who is in custody. She finally did tell me that the person I was calling about, Brian Ellison, was not in custody, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say whether he had been, or where he was.

    Brian Ellison was wrongfully arrested for being on a public street to take part in a footrace without having registered. Last I checked, being on a public street without registering is not a crime!

    Again I encourage readers to send your own messages objecting to Brian’s arrest and the policies of the Oakland County Police Department. Please feel welcome to use any of the material I’ve presented here in your own calls and letters.

  3. Starchild

    I just spoke with Brian Ellison this afternoon, and he is out of custody and doing fine – was released soon after booking, upon paying a $500 bond fee(!)

    He told me he’d been charged with resisting arrest and “interfering with a government function” – despite having been told at the race that he couldn’t participate because it was a “private event”!

    The Libertarian congressional candidate has retained an attorney, and said that unless the charges are dropped he will be taking the matter to a jury trial. Stay tuned!

  4. Starchild

    Nice, Paul, and kudos Brian once again for standing up and speaking out. Not every day you get to watch a Libertarian dress down a police chief (and the chief just stand there with nothing to say because what can he say)!

  5. Andy

    Kudos to Starchild for making this call. I wish that more people would do things like this when a person is a victim of false arrest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *