By Guy Page
His alleged attack on a Shelburne rescue worker was the fourth time Micael Bizuneh, 34, has punched a Vermont woman law enforcement officer or first responder, according to police and media reports.
An online search of Vermont police and media reports show that Bizuneh had been previously arrested because he allegedly:
- Punched a woman Montpelier police officer in the face in February, 2022.
- Punched a woman Brattleboro police officer in the face in October, 2021.
- Punched a woman St. Johnsbury corrections officer in the head in September, 2019.
It is unclear whether these arrests have resulted in convictions and incarcerations – mostly because VDC is not expert at finding records of Vermont convictions and incarceration.
It is clear, however, that Vermont courts have a pattern of seeking mental health evaluations for Bizuneh, and then releasing him. At least one deputy state’s attorney [in Caledonia County] said Bizuneh might be faking mental illness shortly before a judge ordered him released him upon payment of $50 bail. A Washington County prosecutor said Bizuneh’s case demonstrates the need for a forensic psychiatric facility.
Also, Bizuneh’s multiple arrests for mass vandalism of cars usually result in citations to appear in court, not immediate jailing.
The four alleged assaults on Vermont woman LEOs/responders are as follows:
April 23, 2023 – Shelburne Rescue and Police were called to Harbor Place on Rte. 7 in Shelburne at 11 PM for a male in need of medical or mental health assistance. It was reported that the male had damaged property and may be injured. Within seconds of being contacted by rescue workers, 34 attacked a Shelburne Rescue member, punching her repeatedly, state police say. The rescue member was transported to UVM Medical Center by South Burlington Rescue.
February, 2022 – Bizuneh allegedly struck Montpelier Police Officer Diane Matthews in the head, according to this Front Porch Forum report by then-Police Chief Brian Peete:
“In the early afternoon of February 4, 2022, MPD officers were called to a disturbance around the area of 120 Barre Street where a person had been bending windshield wipers on cars, throwing ice at pedestrians (including and a mother and children), threw ice and objects at the windshields and windows of moving vehicles, and attempted to enter into two homes.
“Only two Montpelier Police Officers were on patrol duty and one had approached the individual who had by then, laid down into snow in a parking space on the street. As the female officer approached to talk to the man, he stood up and punched the officer in the head. The female officer, the second patrol officer, and detective who had arrived on scene had to use physical force to restrain the man and placed him under arrest. No punches, kicks, or less than lethal weapons were used against the man by officers in this situation. The man was transported back to the department with no signs or complaints of physical injury.
“MPD posted a brief notice of the incident on its Facebook page, but has not yet had the opportunity to provide more specific information to the public. Unfortunately, there is already a social media link circulating with implications that MPD officers acted inappropriately, and that officers “terrorized” the subject (who the poster described as a person of color).”
October, 2021 – The November 1, 2021 Brattleboro Reformer reported: A man accused of damaging at least 100 cars across Vermont now stands accused of assault after police say he threw an officer [Amy Fletcher] to the ground and punched her multiple time.” A male police officer “also wrote that Bizuneh spit at him and bit his left index finger, causing a small amount of pain….Bizuneh had smashed the windshields of seven vehicles with a cinder block, damaging the hoods as well.” Bizuneh had been previously arrested in Brattleboro on Oct. 13, accused of damaging 23 vehicles between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13.
September, 2019 – Bizuneh unexpectedly, calmly punched Northeast Regional Correctional Facility Corrections Officer Shannon Moran in the face, breaking a maxillary sinus bone, the Caledonian-Record reported.
“Moran observed two inmates walking toward the day room,” a detective’s police report of the September 4 incident published in the Caledonian-Record said. “Moran turned towards the inmates to tell them to return to their cell but before she could say anything Bizuneh punched CO Moran in the left side of her face with a closed fist…Bizuneh then turned around and walked slowly back to his cell.” Video shows that Bizuneh’s demeanor was “calm during the entire incident.”
VDC’s online search shows repeated arrests for vandalism of dozens of cars, often by throwing rocks through windows, in Brattleboro, Montpelier, and Burlington. It also revealed a similar car vandalism arrest in Augusta, Maine in the summer of 2019. The first arrest report for Bizuneh happened in 2011, when at age 22 he allegedly stole his father’s car.