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Gun Rights

Lansing — State Rep. Neil Friske was arrested early Thursday morning here on an undisclosed charge after police responded to “a report of a male with a gun, as well as possible shots that were fired,” according to the Lansing Police Department.

Jordan Gulkis, a spokeswoman for the Lansing Police Department, said officers were dispatched at 2:45 a.m. Thursday to the 2100 block of Forest Road in Lansing, near where public records show Friske owns a condominium. “Our officers quickly responded and made contact with all the parties involved,” Gulkis said.

Friske, 62, a Republican from Charlevoix, was arrested shortly after officers arrived at the scene “for a felon-level offense,” Gulkis said.

The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing charges, Gulkis said, and Friske is expected to be arraigned Friday or Saturday if charges are authorized. Officials at the Ingham County jail said Thursday morning that Friske was being held at the Lansing Police Department lockup.

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Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane said Thursday he expects to receive a report Friday from the Lansing Police Department on its arrest of Friske and subsequent investigation.

“A decision will be made at that time regarding issuing any criminal charges,” Dewane told The Detroit News.

Neighbors on Windbreak Lane, where Friske owns a condo, said Thursday they didn’t see or hear any disturbance in the middle of the night but saw police cars parked outside the residence Thursday morning.

Around midday Thursday, Friske’s campaign published a statement on his Facebook page responding to the arrest that suggested a firearm was involved.

“As many of us know, Rep. Friske is always exercising his 2nd Amendment right,” the Friske campaign said in a statement. “… We ask everyone for prayers and to stay tuned from updates directly from this campaign or Representative Friske himself. Thank you for the outpouring of concern and unwavering support we have received this morning. Clearly, Rep. Friske is over the target in this race.”

Friske faces a primary election challenge Aug. 6 against Parker Fairbairn of Harbor Springs. The winner of the primary is favored to win reelection this fall in the Republican stronghold, which includes Charlevoix and Emmet counties and parts of Mackinac and Chippewa counties in the Upper Peninsula.

Fairbairn, in a statement, said that Friske is presumed innocent until proven guilty of any alleged crime, but added the lawmaker has an “abysmal and immoral voting record.”

“He voted against protecting spouses from marital rape, voted against making child marriage illegal, voted against tax cuts for veterans — and just this past week, he voted against making it illegal to create AI ‘deep fake’ pornography using the likeness of our daughters and wives,” Fairbairn said. “Neil deserves his time in court, and the people of the 107th District deserve better than Neil.”

Forty minutes after Lansing police said Friske was arrested, at 3:25 a.m., Friske had two tweets posted to his X account (formerly Twitter) referencing legislation banning the use of artificial intelligence for producing pornography without the consent of the individual in the image.

“I’m not going to cave to the pressure of special interest. I’m not afraid of the false accusations, like ‘Friske is for AI Porn’ when a bill denies THE PEOPLE their rights to properly defend themselves,” Friske tweeted at 3:25 a.m.

In a second tweet at 3:26 a.m., Friske added: “… My opponent has made it clear that he will work with the Democrats, and all he can do is try and discredit my pro-freedom voting record.”

Friske was one of two representatives in the 110-member House to vote against the anti-AI porn legislation last week.

On the House floor Thursday morning, Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, told reporters he had just been informed of Friske’s arrest, but he had no immediate comment until more details are released by Lansing police.

Friske is one of the most conservative members of the lower chamber and is part of the Michigan House Freedom Caucus. He and his brother run Friske Orchards in Ellsworth, according to Friske’s biography. Neil Friske is the owner of Friske & Sons Property Management, a Harbor Springs business he incorporated in 1998, according to state records.

The lawmaker’s biography indicates Friske is a father of four, has five grandchildren, “serves in the local church where he worships” and is a member of Right to Life, Farm Bureau, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the National Rifle Association.

Friske is not married and previously rented a place in Lansing with state Rep. Mike Hoadley, R-Au Gres, until December when Friske bought a condo, according to Hoadley.

“I haven’t had much really in the way of conversations with Neil in some time,” Hoadley said Thursday. “But what I will say is when we did live together, he was always a very respectful roommate. Being a single man, he never brought any women home or any shenanigans. He always seemed like he was kind of on the straight and narrow, I always thought. He doesn’t drink, as far as I know.”

Hoadley said lawmakers are waiting to learn more about the incident leading to Friske’s arrest “and find out what really happened.”

“At this point,” Hoadley said, “we’re giving the representative the benefit of the doubt.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

clivengood@detroitnews.com

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