WXYZ / Channel 7, Detroit [reporter Scott Lewis] investigation of Firefighter Mike Risher's violence against women:
2005: A woman said she and Risher were arguing in the back seat of a minivan when Risher head-butted her. When she fought back, she said that Risher pinned her down and choked her.
2006: Risher gets in a bar fight and assaults a woman. The assault is caught on the bar's video cam.
2006: When police respond to Risher's assault of the woman, Risher flashes his badge and claims to the responding police that he is the victim.The police arrest the woman that Risher is seen attacking on the bar's video. Risher filed a false police report. The victim of his attack was falsely arrested.
2006: Victim of Risher's attack in the bar filed a lawsuit against Risher. She is awarded $15,000. But Risher only pays a small portion of the suit.
March 12, 2008: Risher's ex-wife had filed a domestic violence assault report with the police department. Charges were never filed against Risher.
Unknown Date: Risher's ex-wife had filed a domestic violence assault report with the police department. Charges were never filed against Risher.
September 18, 2009: Risher's ex-wife had filed a domestic violence assault report with the police department. Charges were never filed against Risher.
March 08, 2011: Risher assaulted Jennifer Panduren at a bar, when she and her friend Samantha Strozynski turned down his advances. Assault was caught on a security cam. Police refuse to review secuirty cam tape. Police refuse to file charges against Risher.
March 08, 2011: Risher assaulted Samantha Strozynski.
March 08, 2011: Risher arrested for disorderly conduct for assaulting Panduren and Strozynski. Charges were later dismissed.
March 08, 2011: Panduren [assaulted by Risher] was arrested for disorderly conduct. Charges were later dismissed.
Summer 2011: Risher attacked a woman when he accused her of spilling his drink. Risher picked her up by her neck and slammed her onto a boat deck after he accused her of spilling his drink.
New, disturbing information on off-duty firefighter Mike Risher who attacked two women
By: Scott Lewis
WXYZ News, Detroit
(WXYZ) - The 7 Action News Investigators have uncovered new, disturbing information about the off-duty Detroit firefighter who attacked two women; this may not be his first offense of this kind.
Police are now looking into the case of off-duty firefighter Mike Risher attacking two women; Jennifer Panduren and Samantha Strozynski outside a bar in 2001. A high-profile attorney has also stepped in.
Meanwhile, two additional women told 7 Action News they were previously attacked by Risher.
It was Paczi Day 2011 when Panduren and Strozynski were arguing with Risher outside the Mars Bar in Hamtramck. Witnesses said Risher punched both in the face and knocked them to the pavement.
"I said to him, I was like, 'Oh, you're big, you're gonna punch a girl.’ And, yeah, I ate my words I guess you can say because he definitely did," Jennifer Panduren said.
Despite presenting security video to police, Strozynski says "Nobody would ever let us make a police report.”
Both women say they believe Risher received a free pass from police because he works as a firefighter.
An independent witness said police told him nothing much would come of the incident because Risher was a Detroit firefighter.
But everything changed after the 7 Action News Investigators exposed this incident three weeks ago.
After our investigation aired, Hamtramck Police brought in Panduren and Strozynski for interviews. They also took statements from two witnesses and are retrieving the women's medical records to document their injuries.
Hamtramck police Chief Maxwell Garbarino confirmed detectives are preparing a warrant request for the Wayne County prosecutor, seeking charges against the Risher. This comes a year and half after the incident happened.
High-powered attorney Ven Johnson has also offered to help Panduren and Strozynski. Johnson said although there is likely little or no money in it, he is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against Risher.
"No one's above the law. No one's above the law,” Johnson told Scott Lewis. “And it doesn't matter what you do for a living or who you work for, or how much money you make, you can't punch other people in the face and get away with it unprovoked. And that's exactly what we think Mr. Risher did."
Meanwhile, two additional women have come forward claiming Risher once attacked them as well.
One woman provided 7 Action News with pictures showing a scrape on her neck. She said the injury occurred last summer when Risher picked her up by her neck and slammed her onto a boat deck after he accused her of spilling his drink. An eyewitness backed up her story.
A second woman said Risher assaulted her in 2005. She said she and Risher were arguing in the back seat of a minivan when Risher head-butted her. When she fought back, she said that Risher pinned her down and choked her. That incident was also confirmed by a witness.
As we previously reported Risher and his then girlfriend were also sued over a bar fight in 2006 and ordered to pay the victims $15,000.
The lawsuit said that "Risher appears to be suffering from the effects of too many steroids. He has a larger than usual physic and a violent temper which he has trouble controlling".
Risher's ex-wife and a former girlfriend both confirm that he has taken steroids prescribed by a doctor.
Reports also show police were called to the Risher's Clinton Township home three times for domestic incidents. In one case, Risher's wife said he pushed her into a table, and knocked the wind out of her leaving a visible scrape. The report says she wanted to press charges but for some reason they were never filed.
Risher worked for a year in the Mount Clemens Fire Department but was terminated in 2003.
His six month performance evaluation gave him unsatisfactory ratings in "ability to get along with others," "carrying out instructions," and “work attitude.”
In all, Risher is accused of attacking five different women since 2005 with no significant repercussions.
Attorney Ven Johnson says it’s his motivation to push the Hamtramck case in civil court.
"My clients have the right to insist that [Risher] be held absolutely accountable for the last year going almost a year and a half,” said Johnson. “He was walking the streets smiling laughing about what he did to these ladies."
Hamtramck Police arrested Risher for disorderly conduct after the Mars Bar incident, but the ticket was later dismissed by a judge.
After Hamtramck Police submit their warrant request, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office will decide whether there is enough evidence to support a criminal charge.
Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin released this statement to 7 Action News:
"The Detroit Fire Department learned of the allegations against Michael Risher when this story originally aired a few weeks ago. The Department has begun a thorough investigation of this incident.
"Regardless of whether criminal charges are filed, we need to determine whether Fire Fighter Risher violated the rules and regulations of the Detroit Fire Department. When our investigation is completed, we will take the appropriate disciplinary action, if any is warranted."
We also reached out to Mike Risher asking for comment on these latest developments.
So far, he has not responded.