Ben Hovarter

From LEO Ratings
Facebook logoTwitter logoReddit logo

Service Record

Columbia Township Michigan Police Department

Rank Officer
Last Known Status Administrative Leave[1]

Incident Reports

2022 Death of Erik Nielsen

On March 31, 2022, Hovarter was dispatched to a report of a man having a seizure. Nielsen's wife claims that he panicked when he saw Hovarter in his house. Nielsen attempted to flee, and Hovarter tased him multiple times, both inside and outside of the house. Nielsen attacked Hovarter with several items around the house, at one point grabbing an axe. Hovarter shot Nielsen, killing him.[2]

Details were captured by the officer's body-worn microphone and his in-vehicle camera.[1] The Nielsen's had video surveillance cameras that captured some of the incident but not the shooting.[3]

Response Timeline

Hovarter was placed on administrative leave.[1]

The Michigan State Police and the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office reviewed the case.[2]

On July 1, 2022, the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney declined to press charges against Hovarter, finding that he acted in self-defense as Nielsen "presented an immediate danger of death or great bodily harm".[4][3]

On February 10, 2023, Nielsen's widow sued Hovarter and the department for the use of "excessive and unnecessary" force.[2]

LEO Ratings


Recent articles: Marc Correia, Kyle Carroll, Scott Gardner, Theodore Maher, Helena Rafferty

To check for incidents in your area, please use the search page or try a random incident.