Police reports unearth domestic assault investigation against top Michigan Republican

By Kyle Kaminski

January 16, 2024

Michigan House Minority Leader Matt Hall was reportedly accused of domestic assault and interfering with a 911 call. He wasn’t charged with a crime—and he went on to vote against legislation to protect survivors of domestic violence.

MICHIGAN—A top ranking Republican lawmaker in the Michigan House of Representatives is facing scrutiny after police reports revealed that he was accused in 2019 of assaulting his girlfriend and interfering in a 911 call, according to recent reports from The Daily Beast.

State House Republican Leader Matt Hall wasn’t charged in the alleged incident—but the reports have raised questions over whether he’s suitable to lead the state GOP, particularly after he voted in opposition of new laws that are designed to protect survivors of domestic violence.

“It seems like every other day we’re learning new and troubling things about current and former Michigan Republican leadership and this is yet another case,” Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, said in a statement. “As information continues to come out about Matt Hall’s alleged history with violent threats and behavior, we must all come together to ask: is this the type of person we want not only serving in public office but holding a position of leadership?”

According to an incident report filed with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Hall and his girlfriend were driving to Indiana “for some type of sports betting” in 2019 when Hall became angry and smashed his girlfriend’s phone screen, according to the reports from The Daily Beast.

Hall reportedly forgot to pack his gambling money, and “became very upset” when he couldn’t find it in the vehicle. And despite his girlfriend’s pleas to slow down and skip gambling for the night, Hall allegedly grabbed his girlfriend’s phone without enough force to break the screen.

The woman then reportedly used Hall’s phone to dial 911, but Hall ended the call.

And when dispatch called back, Hall didn’t answer.

The police report noted that a warrant request would be forwarded to prosecutors for suggested charges of domestic assault, malicious destruction of property, and interfering with a 911 call.

But when cops interviewed Hall’s girlfriend days later, she reportedly backtracked on her claims—describing the grabbing of her phone as “incidental” and telling officers that Hall “did not intend to hurt her in any way.” Prosecutors ultimately decided against pursuing criminal charges.

When reached by The Daily Beast, the woman who filed the report insisted that any negative reports about Hall aren’t true and that she “wouldn’t be in a relationship with him” if they were.

Still, research has shown that it’s extremely common for survivors of domestic violence to recant their accusations, blame themselves, or refuse to participate altogether in the prosecution of their abusers—particularly when their alleged abusers wield positions of power and authority.

What’s clear here—beyond the immediate allegations— is that this is a serious and concerning pattern of violence that needs to be answered for,” according to a recent statement from the Michigan Democratic Party. “As more and more evidence of Matt Hall’s erratic, dangerous, and possibly violent behavior emerges, more questions arise about his fitness for public office.”

Last year, Hall also faced criticism over violent threats that he was accused of making during his time as a student at Western Michigan University in 2001—including when he allegedly threatened another student with gun violence and warned that “the South will rise again.”

Those reports have created questions over whether Hall can fairly evaluate state legislation designed to reduce domestic violence and prevent shootings in Michigan.

“Michiganders deserve answers from Matt Hall and the Republican Party, and we deserve leadership that will work to protect each and every one of us,” Inglot said in a statement.

In addition to voting against a series of popular gun safety reforms last year, Hall also voted against a new law in Michigan that temporarily prevents those convicted of domestic violence from owning or possessing a gun for a period of eight years after they complete their sentence.

In a press release that has since been deleted from his website, Hall reportedly said that he will “always stand against these radical proposals to interfere with your right to bear arms.”

Jeff Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, told The Daily Beast that the 2019 incident should still be of concern for voters—even though Hall wasn’t charged.

“This happened when this guy was in the Legislature,” Timmer said. “It’s recent, and it shows a problem with judgment and anger and behavior that I think is definitely something that is legitimate to be examined by the Michigan public, the people who vote for him, the donors who contribute to his campaign committees… This is a guy who could be Speaker of the House.”

Hall was re-elected in 2022 to represent Michigan’s 42nd District, which includes portions of Allegan and Kalamazoo counties, and is expected to run for reelection again this year.

The primary election is Aug. 6. The general election is Nov. 5.

READ MORE: Ads dig up skeletons involving violent threats from Michigan GOP leader

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  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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