Sophomore charged with assaulting officer


An Isabella County Trial Court judge found probable cause during a preliminary examination to charge a Central Michigan University student for pulling a knife on an undercover police officer in November.

Rachel Michelle Harrison, a Stanwood sophomore, was charged with assaulting an officer and carrying a weapon with criminal intent on Nov. 26. She was arraigned the same day on charges of carrying a dangerous weapon with intent, felonious assault and assaulting or obstructing an officer.

The three felonies are punishable by five, four and two-year penalties, respectively.

Trial Court Judge Eric R. Janes said he will bind over all charges and Harrison's bond will be continued.

Officer Angela Brown with the Mount Pleasant Police Department took the stand Thursday during the preliminary examination, describing her experience with Harrison on the night of Nov. 26.

Brown had been assigned to watch the Phi Mu house, 802 S. Main St., with another undercover officer after the sorority had filed complaints with the city about vandalism. She had been deputized to the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, who are handling the case.

"There had been some problems at the house ... vandalism and destruction of property at the sorority," Brown said. "I was north of the residence, backed into a parking lot across the street to watch the house."

Harrison is a member of the Phi Mu sorority.

Brown said she watched Harrison approach her unmarked car, with Harrison's hands in her coat pockets. Brown said she knocked on the driver's side window.

"She asked if I was a CMU police officer," she said. "I told her no, that I was a city officer. She said she was scared and needed to talk to me."

According to Brown, Harrison then tried to get into the back seat of the vehicle, but Brown told her to get into the front seat after she moved her badge and radio.

"I showed her my badge. She said she really needed to talk to me," Brown said. "We made small talk, but it was strange. She wouldn't look at me. She kept staring straight ahead."

Brown said the dome light had turned off, and it was dark in the vehicle. Brown said after a little bit, she heard a metallic click she recognized from her training.

"It was like a knife locking," Brown said.

The officer said she jumped out of the car after hearing the lock, drew her gun, and asked Harrison if she had a knife.

"Her response was 'yes,'" Brown said. "We couldn't see each other, but I told her to drop the knife. I saw the blade part of the knife when she was leaning over the driver's seat."

According to an affidavit filed with the court in November, Harrison then said, "I have a problem with you."

Brown said she repeatedly asked Harrison to get out of the car and drop the knife. Brown then called for backup, and finally pointed her weapon at Harrison, who had gotten out of the car and was approaching Brown.

"I think she actually saw the gun," she said. "Her eyes got big and she dropped the knife. I stood on top of the knife."

According to Brown, backup arrived quickly and arrested Harrison.

Mount Pleasant defense attorney Thomas Bromell, who is representing Harrison, declined to comment after the preliminary examination. Her next court date has not been set yet.

For more updates on this story, check back with Central Michigan Life.

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