BREAKING: TC Police Captain Facing Willful Neglect of Duty Charge

A Traverse City Police Captain sworn to obey the law is now in trouble for how he handled a case involving the city manager.

Captain Michael Ayling faces charges of willful neglect on duty.

Ayling is now on paid administrative leave.

Jered Ottenwess later resigned from his role as city manager.

But Tuesday this case is again making waves across Traverse City.

Officers were called to Ottenwess’ home in late February.

He was drunk and acting aggressively.

He also tried to attack an officer.

In March, Ottenwess took a plea deal to avoid jail time.

Earlier this month, the focus turned to how Traverse City police handled the case.

The attorney general’s office handed that investigation over to prosecutor in neighboring Antrim County.

Tuesday the prosecutor authorized a charge against Ayling.

Traverse City Chief, Mike Warren says as soon as he found out about the willful neglect of duty charge against Captain Mike Ayling, he was placed on paid administrative leave.

“I certainly wasn’t taken by surprise because this has been going on for over two months,” said Chief Warren. “When the charge came out I had mixed feelings and now it’s where it’s at in the juridical system.”

Chief Warren says he had no input in the decision process.

“It’s a call made by the prosecutor. I think he thinks he’s doing the right thing and for now we’ll just wait and see what happens,” said Chief Warren. 

The investigation was done by the Grand Traverse Sheriffs Department.

“I feel our officers did a fair investigation,” said Tom Bensley, Grand Traverse County Sheriff. “It’s not every day that these investigations are done by our office. It’s very different, but we use the same procedures and practices that we would in any investigation.”

The Antrim County Prosecutor then thoroughly reviewed that report and the report done after officers responded to the Ottenwess home.

He says something did not add up.

“If law enforcement responds to a domestic violence — the police officers have to prepare a written report and then that agency has to provide that report to the prosecuting attorney within 48 hours,” said James Rossiter, Antrim County Prosecutor. 

City leaders say this does not appear to be a big problem for them.

“I think things will work out fine for the city,” said Michael Estes, Traverse City Mayor. “I would like to remind the general public this is one  officer that we are dealing with and the police department is not under investigation.”

Captain Mike Ayling is expected to be formally charged Wednesday morning.

9&10 News will be in the courtroom to bring you the very latest on air and online.