BELDING — A longtime Belding police officer has been terminated from his job after his alleged off-duty involvement in a bar fight.
Belding City Manager Meg Mullendore confirmed Jason Cooper was terminated from his position as a police officer on Oct. 23. She said Cooper’s termination “revolved around policy and procedural violations.”
“The police chief makes the preliminary decision and then we make a final determination together,” she said. “In this instance, I supported the chief’s decision (to fire Cooper).”
According to Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess, sheriff’s deputies responded to a fight in progress at the Grattan Irish Pub in Grattan Township on Oct. 11. Hess said the fight started between Cooper and another man and then multiple other people got involved.
“A lot of verbal back and forth raised them to the point where they decided … they were at a bar, presumably people were drinking, they decided to take it even further,” Hess said. “It was one of those things where there were two men fighting and then a lot of other people got involved. There was a lady there who was pregnant. She was a victim of the fighting.”
Hess said sheriff’s deputies turned over all information from the fight to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, but the prosecutor’s office decided not to press charges against anyone.
Mullendore said Cooper was hired as a Belding police officer sometime during the late 1990s. Cooper was not on duty as an officer when the Oct. 11 incident occurred.
“There’s a lot of misinformation that’s out there relative to what transpired and why we took action,” Mullendore said. “The bottom line is that there are policies and procedures that police offers have to adhere to. It’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of bad information that’s being circulated. There’s always two sides to a story and somewhere in between lies what really happened.”
Cooper could not be reached for comment.