United Kingdom

Wisconsin police apologize for wrongly arresting African-American man at gunpoint in his rented home

Police in Wisconsin have publicly apologized to an African American man they wrongly arrested at gunpoint after falsely suspecting him of burglarizing a house he had actually just moved into.

The Monona Police Department received a call from a woman on the 5100 block of Arrowhead Drive at 10:50am on Tuesday, reporting that she’d seen a black man ‘inside her neighbor’s home and didn’t believe he should be there’.

The woman told dispatchers that the previous person who lived next door had recently passed away, and the home had been vacant ever since.

Though the woman specifically identified the believed burglar as a black male to dispatchers, Monona Police Chief Walter J. Ostrenga claims that information wasn't passed on to attending officers.  

The Monona Police Department received a call from a woman on the 5100 block of Arrowhead Drive (above) at 10:50am on Tuesday, reporting that she’d seen a black man ‘inside her neighbor’s home and didn’t believe he should be there’.

According to Monona police, when officers arrived at the home, they found the front door ‘unsecured’ and the knocked and announced their presence. Officers reported hearing someone talking inside, but nobody came to greet them. 

Allegedly believing a burglary to be in progress, the officers then entered the premises with their guns drawn.

Inside, officers found a 23-year-old black male and placed him in handcuffs while they investigated the property.

When questioned what he was doing inside the house, the man, who has not been named, told police he was renting the property from the son of the deceased owner.

Police contacted the homeowner’s son by phone. He confirmed and he confirmed to them that a friend of the handcuffed man, and said he knew the 23-year-old man who was handcuffed.

Though the woman specifically identified the believed burglar as a black male to dispatchers, Monona Police Chief Walter J. Ostrenga (above) claims that information wasn't passed on to attending officers

‘Given the circumstances, the handcuffs were removed from the subject,’ Chief Ostrenga said in a written statement. ‘Officers apologized for the misunderstanding and they cleared from the call.’

Shortly after the incident, the renter and the man who had been handcuffed in the home went to the police department and filed a formal complaint, police said.

One of the officers involved met with them and again apologized.

‘The Monona Police Department is committed to creating an environment of trust and empathy in all our interactions between the public and our peace officers,’ Ostrenga said. ‘This complaint will be thoroughly investigated.’

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