Criminal charges have been dropped against a white couple charged in 2020 after one of them was captured on video pulling a handgun on a Black woman and her daughters outside a Michigan restaurant.
The trial had been set to start Monday for Eric Wuestenberg and Jillian Wuestenberg, but Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Brennan dismissed the case after the alleged victims did not show up to provide witness testimony, The Oakland Press reported.
The Wuestenbergs were each charged with one count of felonious assault for the July 1, 2020, incident in the parking lot of a Chipotle restaurant in Orion Township, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.
David Williams, Oakland County’s chief assistant prosecutor, noted that the charges were dismissed Monday without prejudice, “meaning that our office can reissue charges in this matter if and when those witnesses become available.” He declined further comment.
Takelia Hill, who is Black, told The Detroit News in 2020 that the incident happened after a white woman later identified as Jillian Wuestenberg bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the restaurant and Wuestenberg was leaving with a carry-out order.
The Oakland Press reported that the Pontiac woman was visiting the restaurant with two daughters when the incident began. A three-minute cellphone video posted online documents part of the ensuing confrontation in the restaurant’s parking lot.
Jillian Wuestenberg can be seen outside her vehicle shouting, “Get the (expletive) away! Get away!” while pointing a handgun at the person who’s recording. She eventually gets back into her vehicle, which her husband drives away.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said both parties called police on each other and that the Wuestenbergs drove away and waited for deputies to arrive. The couple was arrested shortly afterward.
Following his arrest, Eric Wuestenberg lost his job at Oakland University where he was coordinator of veterans support services. His attorney, Dean Greenblatt, said the Wuestenbergs have lived “with clouds over their head for three years.”
“Nothing can bring their jobs back, their lives back, their reputations back,” Greenblatt said.
Jillian Wuestenberg’s attorney, Terry Johnson, said the dismissal of the charges was long overdue.
“On behalf of my client, we’re excited it only took 32 months for the Oakland County Prosecutor to finally drop the charges. My client’s life, unfortunately, will never be the same,” Johnson said.