Michael Miecielica is the man accused of bringing a knife to a Wisconsin polling place during the midterm election and demanding that officials “stop the voting.”
The incident occurred on November 8, 2022, at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in Wisconsin as hotly contested gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections unfolded.
Police released a body cam video of Miecielica’s arrest.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say Miecielica ‘Intentionally Created a Disturbance While Armed’ to ‘Provoke a Police Response’
The body camera video shows an office with a gun demanding that Miecielica get on the ground and drop the knife. “Do not reach for your backpack or you will be shot. Do you understand?” an officer asked.
“I have box cutters in my backpack, like four,” the suspect said. The police officer referred to children being in the building.
According to West Bend police, the investigation “determined the 38-year-old West Bend man intentionally created a disturbance while armed at the library with the intent to provoke a police response.”
The man made statements to investigators that he was aware the library was a polling place and disrupting the election process would ensure an immediate police response. The man has not made statements in this investigation identifying a political motive or affiliation.
Miecielica Was Out on Bail for a Previous Incident in Which He Is Accused of Threatening Wisconsin Senate Candidate Mandela Barnes
Bail issues have been a big deal in Wisconsin since it was revealed the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christmas parade attack suspect was out on bail in two pending felony cases.
West Bend is located in an adjacent county. Police say Miecielica was out on bail when he is accused of the knife incident.
“The man arrested in this incident was out on bail for a previous investigation involving the posting of fliers in the downtown West Bend area that contained threatening political and racial language,” police wrote.
“The man was placed in jail and the following charges have been referred to the Washington County District Attorney:
WI § 12.03(2)(a)(1): Engage in Electioneering during Polling Hours on Election Day
WI § 12.09(1): Election Threats
WI § 947.019(1)(a): Terroristic Threats
WI § 941.20(1)(a): Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon
WI § 947.01(1): Disorderly Conduct
WI § 943.01(1): Criminal Damage to Property
WI § 946.49(1)(a): Misdemeanor Bail Jumping.”
Online court records show Miecielica received a $1,000 signature bond on November 3, 2022, for misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and computer message/threaten obscenity. The judge is Michael S. Kenitz.
According to the West Bend Daily News, in the earlier case, the suspect was accused of “allegedly posting in downtown West Bend notes containing hate speech and threats to Democratic candidates in the Wisconsin gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, as well as sending notes via email to Senator Ron Johnson’s campaign, on Monday.”
The newspaper reported that “Miecielica’s alleged notes contained slurs about the African American, Latin American, Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities and women, as well as referencing hanging Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes from a tree.” Barnes is Black and lost to Johnson in the Senate election on November 8. He claimed he worked for Johnson’s campaign, which the campaign denies, the Daily News reported.
The judge set bail at $50,000 cash in the recent felony case.
The Suspect Is Accused of Demanding That Staff ‘Stop the Voting’
At approximately 12:35 p.m., the City of West Bend Police Department “received a call from West Bend Community Memorial Library staff reporting a male subject in the library armed with a knife demanding for staff to ‘stop the voting,'” police wrote.
“Police officers responded and took a 38-year-old male into custody without incident. There were no injuries reported.”
The library is a polling location for the City of West Bend. Voting was paused for just over 30 minutes while the scene was secured and the initial investigation was conducted. All library staff, election officials, and citizens are safe and the polling site is re-opened. The Police Department would like to thank the library staff for taking quick action and voters who waited patiently to vote. The incident remains under investigation and charges will be forthcoming. There is no further threat to the community
The suspect’s Facebook page says he is single and from Rhode Island but lives in West Bend, Wisconsin. It’s filled with graphics about Hollywood movies.
READ NEXT: The Death of Takeoff