BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A viral video shows a police officer in Battle Creek, Michigan, arriving at a call involving a personal protection order while wearing a Batman mask.
Property owner Justin Shotts was recording on his phone as Sgt. Chris Fickle, a supervising officer, was seen wearing more than his usual uniform. The video has now gone viral on YouTube and Facebook.
“Not much catches me off guard. I’m sure you could see that I was frozen and speechless. I was not prepared for seeing that,” Shotts said.
Shotts said the PPO filed since Memorial Day is against a man with ongoing property disputes and stalking concerns towards Shotts’ family. He said that Fickel’s decision to dress up was in immediate response to a video he posted about his recent experiences with police at court.
“(It was about) the experience they had given me coming to court here, standing out in front of the court to stare me down, their appearance, then following me on my heels, then surprise ambush-style to come and testify against me,” Shotts said. “My lawyer has never even heard of such a thing.”
In a statement, the Battle Creek Police Department said it has been responding to that area since March of last year due to complaints between landowners, including Shotts. It was Shotts himself who referred to Fickle as “Batman” in previous callouts. The department said that Fickle was trying “to insert humor into the long-standing civil dispute between neighbors.”
But Shotts said this is no laughing matter.
“That was not a joke in any way, shape or form. I don’t think anybody thought that that would’ve been taken as a joke,” Shotts said. “I’m sure anybody can watch the video and see on the officer’s faces that they barely know what to do or how to be.”
“As much as we value creative responses in all situations, Sgt. Fickle’s well-intended action was done in poor judgment, and was disappointing,” Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said in the statement. “As with all police personnel matters, this case was reviewed and addressed.”
The statement did not specify how they reviewed or addressed the case. But Shotts is calling on the department to fire Fickle and another officer involved with the case. He also said he is talking to his lawyer about taking this to court.
Fickle had not returned a voicemail as of Tuesday night.