December 20, 2014

Lawmakers demand audit of Brown Deer Police

A dozen Wisconsin legislators are demanding an independent investigation of the Brown Deer Police Department and its policies for dealing with domestic violence. The move comes after reports showed the department had multiple contacts with Radcliffe Haughton, the man who opened fire at a Brookfield spa last month, but failed to arrest him. Haughton killed his estranged wife and two others at the spa on October 21st before killing himself.

Assembly Democrat Terese Berceau (D-Madison) is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers accusing Brown Deer Police of not following the state’s mandatory arrest law on at least two occasions when they believed Haughton should have been taken in. The legislators say the chief was also wrong to blame the victim, when he said Zina Haughton did not cooperate with police in those cases. Berceau says the state needs to get involved because Brown Deer’s police commission has kept its distance.

Most criticism has involved a 2011 police standoff in which Haughton apparently pointed a gun at his wife. The standoff ended with no arrests after police withdrew from the property.

Village officials have not commented on the lawmakers’ concerns.

Earlier this week, Chief Rinzel asked the state Justice Department to provide additional training to officers in handling domestic disturbances.