The state’s top prosecutor says two Neenah police officers acted in self-defense when they shot an armed man who was fleeing the location of a hostage situation.
Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the decision Friday not to bring charges against the officers for the December 5 shooting at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah, following a lengthy investigation by the Department of Justice. Schimel said a review of the situation, which was done with the aid of dashboard camera footage and body cameras worn by police, showed officers had reason to believe that 60-year-old Michael Funk posed a threat to their safety and the safety of others.
Funk was shot at least nine times – likely once by alleged hostage-taker Brian Flatoff, and eight times by the two officers.
Just minutes before Funk was shot, police tried to enter the building, but backed off after Flatoff had threatened to shoot hostages and fired a shot at police. Schimel said police felt like they may have been walking into an ambush and, when they saw a man turning toward them with a gun, they acted to stop the threat. As a result, Schimel said the DOJ investigation concluded the agency could not overcome the likely self-defense argument the officers would make in court.
Several of Funk’s family members and friends were present for Friday’s press conference, and there were audible gasps when the decision not to file charges was announced. Kay Reetz, a friend of Funk, said police should have known he didn’t pose a threat and was trying to get away. She said Funk likely thought that, if he ran out the door, police would be there to protect him, “but that didn’t happen.”
Prosecutors have filed charges against Flatoff, which include murder for the death of Funk.
Contributed by WHBY