GB Police: Officer Derek Wicklund cleared

Published 07/15 2014 05:29PM

Updated 07/15 2014 06:26PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - The Green Bay police officer at the center of a controversy over an aggressive arrest has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

"The findings of our investigation are that Officer Derek Wicklund's use of force was justifiable and objectively reasonable," said Police Chief Tom Molitor.

Days after video surfaced online of Officer Wicklund aggressively arresting Joshua Wenzel, 29, of Caledonia, outside of a downtown bar, Green Bay Police launched an internal investigation. Their findings were then reviewed by the state Department of Justice Training and Standards Bureau. Both agencies agree, Officer Wicklund's use of force was not excessive, given the situation.

"I think you will see and understand it's a credible agency that's putting together a transparent investigation," said Lt. Chad Ramos, during Tuesday's news conference.

According to the report, dozens of witness interviews were conducted. Police closely reviewed the cell phone video. Also video from a squad car dash cam and two other videos from surveillance cameras at nearby bars.

Lt. Ramos said, when determining use of force, they look at several factors. He said Officer Wicklund was concerned about Wenzel's proximity to another officer's gun. He said that Wenzel was acting very disorderly, interfering in another arrest and shouting expletives. Officer Wicklund asked Wenzel to put his hands behind his back and he refused. That's when Officer Wicklund moved him from the sidewalk, away from others in the street.

As for the two blows Officer Wicklund gives Wenzel once on the ground, Lt. Ramos called them open-handed tactical strikes used to gain compliance from Wenzel, who can be seen still struggling with the officer.

"I'm confident in what we did," added Lt. Ramos. "I want to see him keep his professional career moving forward and the community moving beyond this, to be honest with you."

Joshua Wenzel's attorney, Nathan Dineen, said his client filed a formal complaint against officer Wicklund and the Green Bay Police Department back in May, and is currently fighting the citations for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer. Dineen said Wenzel is disappointed by the results of the investigation. But does not plan on giving up.

"Definitely there's a road to be followed that's for sure," said Dineen. "We have to deal with the court process moving forward then determine if and when we are going to proceed forward after that with any type of civil suit."

To see more from the police news conference, click here.

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