Jason Kolkema, a judicial contender, seemed to forcefully strike his girlfriend during a dispute in his apartment in western Michigan two weeks after winning the primary election in August. He appeared to be unaware that nearby spectators were recording the incident.
The 51-year-old attorney gestured with a peace sign to the bystanders when he spotted them from his window and later stated that the video is inaccurate: Both the woman and his lawyer have claimed that he was not actually hitting her with his belt; instead, he was striking a chair.
Following the belt movement, Kolkema and his girlfriend are visible in the video waving and giving the thumbs up, suggesting that everything is fine, as per the man’s statement.
However, the video triggered criminal allegations and a wave of public outrage in Muskegon, a city located approximately 40 miles northwest of Grand Rapids and bordering Lake Michigan.
The issue of domestic violence has become the focal point of a controversial judicial election that has sparked extensive debate in western Michigan as advocates for women’s rights strive to prevent Kolkema from assuming the position, arguing that he is not competent to be a judge, especially in cases involving abused women and vulnerable children.
According to the defense counsel for a candidate for judge in Muskegon County, the footage depicts Jason Kolkema striking some furniture next to his girlfriend rather than assaulting her with a belt.
According to Terry Nolan, Kolkema’s attorney, as informed to Target 8, the two were in a dispute when Kolkema struck the woman’s chair with his belt. Kolkema and the girlfriend, according to him, made no statement.
Due to the woman wearing a long dress, officers were unable to detect any injuries on Kolkema’s girlfriend, as per the probable cause affidavit that led to Kolkema’s arrest on a charge of domestic violence.