DEARBORN, Mich. – Two men are due in court Friday for their preliminary hearings on felony charges for allegedly carrying guns and wearing body armor into the Dearborn police station.
James Baker, 24, of Leonard, and Brandon Vreeland, 40, of Jackson, are both charged with carrying a concealed weapon, disturbing the peace and assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer. Baker was also charged with brandishing a weapon.
"The ultimate objective is public safety for everyone; including police officers," Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said.
Baker and Vreeland allegedly entered the Dearborn police station Feb. 5 dressed in body armor and carrying firearms. Baker was allegedly wearing a ski mask. The incident was livestreamed on Youtube.
Police said the men went to the police station after they were pulled over earlier.
Baker and Vreeland were expecting to face misdemeanor charges at their arraignments. The misdemeanor charges were dropped and they both now face felony charges.
Baker appeared first before the judge to be arraigned.
Sergeant Carpenter of the Dearborn police spoke at length about why a high bond should be set.
Carpenter said that since the incident, both Baker and Vreeland have organized other individuals to carry out similar acts and called the men “professional provocateurs.”
Carpenter said some 7,000 text messages have been investigated between Vreeland and Baker about their “protests” and taking advantage of “Trumpophobia” by wearing full Muslim robes and carrying AK-47s at demonstrations.
“There’s discussion of having a death wish, making funeral arrangements and embracing the idea of being known as the public enemy,” Carpenter said.
The defense attorney, who represented both men, argued that they are well-known activists and that a high bond would be the same as a political witch hunt.
Bond was set at $50,000, cash or surety, for Baker, and $20,000, cash or surety, for Vreeland. Both men must turn over all their weapons if they post bond and must wear a GPS tether. Another condition of bond is that they may not have contact with one another.
Both men are due back in court March 10.
Police received a call on Feb. 5 about two men putting on masks and body armor and thought the men looked dangerous and suspicious. Police showed up at the location and couldn’t find the men, but a few minutes later, their vehicle was located and they were pulled over.
“Let me go on my way,” one of the men said during the traffic stop. “Let me be free to go, we’ve broken no laws. This, you know this, this is an illegal detention and you’d better get your s*** straight, we’re done… Oh, I will file a complaint.”
You can view the full video that was livestreamed on Youtube below. WARNING: The video contains explicit language.
The men immediately went to the Dearborn police station to file a complaint.
“We felt a little afraid for our lives when we were pulled over, so we figured we’d better protect ourselves,” one of the men said.
Baker and Vreeland allegedly walked into the police station with long guns drawn around their necks, wearing body armor. One of the men wore a mask.
“Dude, put that on the ground,” a police officer said. “Put it on the ground. I will put a round in you, sir.”
The men livestreamed the incident on Youtube. You can see the video of the men walking into the Dearborn police station below. WARNING: The video contains explicit language.
Dearborn police arrested the two men.
“It’s terrifying,” Lt. Gary Mann said. “There’s been so many attacks on police officers nationwide over the past year or two that they (officers) feared for their safety.”
The men are advocates of open carry laws, but the Open Carry of Michigan Organization contacted the Dearborn Police Department and said it isn't associated with the men and does not support what they did.