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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Two men accused of attacking a newspaper reporter at a meeting of residents who oppose this northwest Michigan public schools’ mask mandate for students and staff have been charged in the case.

County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg filed a misdemeanor “assault or assault and battery” charge Friday against Michael Francis Adams, 55, and Joseph Michael Welsh, 51, for physically attempting to prevent Record-Eagle reporter Brendan Quealy from covering the meeting at a public park.

Quealy told a sheriff’s investigator he was shoved against a fence and punched in the face at the Aug. 26 gathering after two attackers responded to a request by an organizer of the meeting to prevent him from recording the event on his cellphone.

The Traverse County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and submitted its findings to the prosecutor, along with a video from the park security cameras and a voice recording from the reporter’s cellphone.

Moeggenberg said she reviewed the sheriff’s report, concluding sufficient evidence existed to prosecute the matter in court.

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