Woman alleges she was attacked by Taser-wielding bounty hunter

MLive – by John Counts

Police are investigating whether a bounty hunter assaulted a woman in Canton Township while taking her husband into custody Sunday.

The 29-year-old man, Richard Allen-Bass, was wanted out of Washtenaw County for not making payments or showing up to court after a drunken driving arrest, his wife Camille Allen said.

Court records show Allen-Bass has been on a long legal road since a 2009 drunken driving arrest in Ypsilanti with various missed payments and court dates.  

But that didn’t give the bail bonds company the right to do what they did Sunday, Allen told The Ann Arbor News.

Allen-Bass’s family released a disturbing video showing the bounty hunter attempting to use a Taser on Allen during a frantic confrontation in which Allen tears the man’s T-shirt off.

Allen contends the bounty hunters used unnecessary force. The bail bonds company is saying Allen and others were interfering with a legal arrest and that the man was only trying to get back the paperwork Allen snatched from his back pocket.

Canton Township police on Wednesday said they are investigating the incident as a possible assault on Allen by the bounty hunter, and not the other way around. In the end, according to Canton police Sgt. Mike Steckel, it will be up to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to authorize any charges.

In any case, the incident raises many questions about what exactly bounty hunters are allowed and not allowed to do.

Getting home from church

Allen said she and her family went to church in Ann Arbor Sunday morning. She and Allen-Bass have two young children together, but there were several other family members at their home in the College Park Estates mobile home park in Canton Township near the Washtenaw-Wayne county border when the incident took place.

Allen said they were longtime residents of Ypsilanti before moving to Canton in January.

They were changing out of their church clothes when two men walked in.

“They walked straight in the door,” Allen said. “They didn’t announce who were they were.”

Allen-Bass was holding their 2-year-old daughter at the time. The men made him put her down and forced him into custody, abusing him and handcuffing him, Allen said. All the while, they never said what it was about.

Allen said the men choked and punched her husband. The scene upset the children.

“It was just too much for kids,” she said.“There was nothing but children in the house.”

Allen said she knew her husband was having court issues and that there was a warrant out for his arrest, but didn’t understand why it was going down so violently. She claims her husband wasn’t resisting.

She said the court issues didn’t warrant the men coming in like they did.

“(It was ) not serious enough for them to walk into our house,” she said. “He would have went willingly. It would have been no problem at all.”

The men took her husband into the back of an SUV. This is when Allen-Bass’s mother began taping the incident with her cellphone camera.

The video

The video shows the 28-year-old bounty hunter at the door of the SUV holding Allen-Bass. Allen walks up, snatches the paperwork out of his back pocket.

He chases her across the yard, up the stairs to the front door where there is a physical struggle and lot of screaming. Allen rips the man’s T-shirt off as he attempts to get back inside the house.

“I didn’t know what he was going to do next,” Allen said

This causes the man to pull out his Taser on Allen and come after her. Allen said he shoots the Taser, but doesn’t strike her.

“He pointed the Taser. It was aimed at my face. I hit it and ran,” Allen said.

The men eventually did get Allen-Bass to the Washtenaw County Jail, where he was released the next day, court records indicate.

Allen said he is free on a personal recognizance bond.

The You Walk Bail Bond Agency’s version

A representative with You Walk Bail Bond agency has a different version of the events.

Gene Butler, a loss mitigation manager at the agency, said Allen and her family were interfering with a lawful arrest.

The term “bounty hunter” isn’t allowed in Michigan, Butler explained. The two men who showed up at Allen-Bass’s home Sunday were “fugitive recovery specialists” in the parlance of the industry.

While they aren’t police officers, they do have many similar rights when it comes to detaining fugitives per state law. In other words, they can come in without knocking if they see a defendant, Butler said. They are also allowed to carry weapons, including Tasers, with the proper licensing.

That was the case Sunday.

The 28-year-old man and his colleague, whom The Ann Arbor News is not naming because they haven’t been formally charged with a crime, were well within their rights to go in and arrest Allen-Bass, Butler said.

“Basically, we have the right to enter the building to effectuate the arrest,” he said.

The situation at College Park Estates, located at 51074 Mott Road, got out of hand because of the way Allen-Bass’s family was acting, according to Butler.

“The video was only a small portion of what happened that day,” he said.

On the video, he points out the 28-year-old was guarding the fugitive in the car when Allen came and took his paperwork.

“He was trying to get his file folder back. It had confidential information on it,” Butler said.

Allen and another woman were also trying to open the doors to the car, he added.

“They were interfering with a lawful arrest and they were obstructing justice,” Butler said, saying people should think about it in the same way as if they were interfering with police.

Butler said he’s not sure what happened with the Taser on the video, because he couldn’t see it. But he did say the 28-year-old never assaulted Allen.

“There was no assault on her,” he said. “He didn’t have any physical contact with her.”

The agency continues to contract the 28-year-old man for fugitive recovery.

“We see nothing in that incident that would preclude him from working for us,” Butler said.

Police investigation

But the man could face criminal charges.

Canton police confirmed they were called to the mobile home park around 2:45 p.m. after Allen called authorities.

Steckel said the case is now in the detective’s bureau and investigators have spoken with both Allen and the 28-year-old man.

The case is not being investigated as an assault on the 28-year-old man by Allen, but by an assault on Allen with the Taser by the man, Steckel said.

Butler said he hopes to press charges against the woman for assault, however.

Another point in the incident is that Allen is claiming that it may have been racially charged: the 28-year-old and his colleague are white while Allen and Allen-Bass are black.

Police said there was no mention of race in the report thus far and it’s not being investigated as a hate crime.

Exactly what charges, if any, would be determined by the Wayne County Prosecutors Office. Steckel didn’t immediately have a time frame on when the investigation would be complete and submitted for review.

John Counts covers crime and breaking news for The Ann Arbor News. He can be reached at johncounts@mlive.com or you can follow him on Twitter. Find all Washtenaw County crime stories here


3 thoughts on “Woman alleges she was attacked by Taser-wielding bounty hunter

  1. The only victims I see here are the Allen-Bass family. Too bad they weren’t armed to permanently deal with the intruders and kidnappers.

    1. How true, entering into someones home could get a bounty hunter killed, with no repercussions for the homeowner.

  2. “Court records show Allen-Bass has been on a long legal road since a 2009 drunken driving arrest in Ypsilanti with various missed payments and court dates.”

    That’s the bottom line – missed payments.

    You don’t mess with their theft of your ‘money’.

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