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Internal Investigation Following Use of Force During Arrest

Post Date:05/14/2018 1:57 PM

The safety and security of everyone is paramount to us all in Wauwatosa. On May 11 at approximately 4:37pm, Wauwatosa Police received a call from Mayfair Mall security requesting police assistance related to five male subjects inside the mall acting disorderly and causing a disturbance. A 17-year-old male was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, battery and resisting an officer. The use of force by a Wauwatosa police officer during the arrest is currently under internal review.

There is video of a short segment of the incident that is circulating through media outlets and social media. Our police department is conducting an internal review into the use of force during the arrest. The investigation has been assigned to the investigative lieutenant who is trained in use of force tactics and also conducts our departmental training in use of force. Our police department trains all our officers in the State of Wisconsin’s defense and arrest tactics system, which guides use of force abilities and decisions not just in Wauwatosa, but also across the state of Wisconsin.

We are reviewing additional video that shows the officer initially attempting to speak with the male, and the suspect refusing to stop and speak with the officer.  Further, the suspect began to physically fight with the officer who was attempting to legally detain the suspect.

The investigation is the police department’s top priority and will be conducted in a timely manner. This investigatory process involves a review of: all video footage of the incident, including what led up to the suspect and officer interaction, witness statements, and additional interviews.

We will continue to be transparent on this issue and release additional information as it becomes available.

Update: May 23, 2018

A full review of the force used by the officer to effect a lawful arrest in this incident was conducted. The entire review is being released to the media and the general public. The report is complete and thorough. It was reviewed the use of force trainers from outside the Wauwatosa Police Department, as well. We are also releasing the full incident report related to this arrest along with police radio transmissions.

A few of the key points of the use of force review include:

  • The officer told the subjects to stop numerous times and they refused to comply.
  • The office attempted to detain one of the subjects, however the male pulled away from the officer and a physical struggle began.
  • The officer attempted to decentralize the suspect to get him on the ground and control him.
  • The male exhibited assaultive behavior and continued resistance, the officer struck the suspect in the face.
  • After the officer struck the suspect, the suspect went to the ground and the officer de-escalated.
  • The officer then used his body weight and arms to try to control the male.
  • When the male attempted to get up multiple times and continued to resist the officer's control efforts, the officer struck him again.
  • The male then complied with the officer's control efforts and the officer again de-escalated.

The male involved in the incident was not injured and did not desire or require any medical attention. He was transported to the police department and was issued municipal citations for Battery, Resisting an Officer and Disorderly Conduct.

While at the station, he apologized for his actions and stated he understood why force was used and that he should have stopped when instructed to do so.

Anytime there is use of force, it is never a pleasant interaction, whether you are the officer, the offender, the witness, or the viewer.

Police officers take a constitutional oath to uphold the law and are authorized to do so by the law.

The Wauwatosa Police Department has received written notice of intent to file a civil lawsuit from an attorney representing the family involved in this case so additional comments or interviews are unlikely, at this time.

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