GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A Green Bay Police Officer was officially charged for an incident back in 2021 where he was seen on camera hitting a suspect with his car and later mimicking him.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by Local 5, 40-year-old Green Bay Police Officer Matthew Knutson was officially charged in court. The charges come from an incident that happened back on November 23, 2021.
The incident was a traffic stop where Knutson hit a fleeing suspect with his car. The body cam video showed Knutson’s vehicle making contact with the man and Knutson then getting him to the ground.
The complaint includes Knutson’s original police report. Knutson said the suspect cut directly in front of him and that caused the contact with the vehicle. The suspect said his left leg hurt from running but was not injured from being tased or from contact with the squad car or from being taken into custody.
The suspect reportedly told officers he ran away because ‘he was scared’.
The actions of Officer Knutson were brought to attention by the defense counsel for the suspect after reviewing the police reports and the squad camera footage. Knutson’s report and the camera footage appeared to tell two different stories.
The footage showed Knutson driving on the grass even though there were no other vehicles in the driveway at the time. The defense counsel also said that officers at the scene seemed to laugh at the suspect’s plight.
According to the complaint, the footage also showed Knutson mimicking the suspect hobbling which generated laughter from the other officers at the scene.
Knutson could be heard telling the suspect “You are not injured. Ok, I pushed you to the ground, you are not injured.” He later tells the suspect “You’re fine man” and “You’re not hurt, you’re not that old.”
The complaint says a group of officers gather and start laughing.
On January 16, 2023, a detective met with Knutson and his attorney. The detective asked about the part where Knutson said there were other vehicles already on Imperial Lane. The footage showed that Imperial Lane was empty of any other vehicles, moving or parked.
Knutson said that a vehicle had previously passed and wasn’t sure if it was his flashing lights or something else, but he ‘thought something else was there’.
When asked about the part of the incident where his squad car hit the subject, Knutson said he was concerned about the two trees in the area as well as the whereabouts of a fellow officer. Knutson also said he assumed the suspect was going to go a certain way and was trying to get his vehicle up and around him and past him and ‘turn into the other side of him.’
The complaint says the detective asked about the officers laughing and his motion of mimicking the suspect that seemed to generate laughter. Knutson reportedly said the act ‘was stupid and inappropriate’.
Knutson told the detective that the act had to do with the actions of the suspect getting back up after being hit by the squad car and him trying to run with his pants falling down.
Knutson is charged with the following:
- Negligent Operation of Vehicle
- Up to nine months in prison
- Up to three and a half years in prison
Court records show that Knutson is scheduled to be in court on May 17 for his initial appearance.
No additional information was provided. Local 5 will continue to update this story.