MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn released a statement Tuesday, April 17th regarding an incident in which videos were recorded showing an MPD officer striking 39-year-old Jeffrey Strasser during a drunk driving arrest on Water Street.
Police say Strasser was more than twice the legal limit, and endangering public safety. They say he was struck by the officer because he was resisting arrest - something Strasser denies.
MPD issued the following statement Friday, April 13th: "Milwaukee police officers made an arrest of a suspected drunken driver Thursday night, April 12 at about 11 p.m. in the 200 block of E. Juneau Ave. The suspect, Jeffrey R. Strasser (4-29-1972), was cited for Operating a vehicle While Intoxicated. The matter is under review for additional charges.
A police sergeant observed a reckless driver at Water St. & Juneau Ave. operating a 2008 Lamborghini in a manner that posed a danger to the public in the Water Street area. The sergeant, in a marked police squad, activated his red lights and siren and attempted to stop the vehicle. Strasser refused to stop. Strasser was observed operating with no headlamps, disregarding a stop sign and endangering the public safety by operating the vehicle in a manner that forced other vehicles to take evasive action to avoid collision. As Strasser pulled into a parking lot, he nearly struck multiple pedestrians and uniformed police officers.
Strasser eventually stopped and refused to exit the vehicle. Strasser was taken to the ground as officers removed him. One officer delivered focused strikes to gain compliance and control as Strasser was resisting attempts to place handcuffs on him. During the booking process, the 6’0, 200-pound suspect, in response to direct police questioning, stated he was not injured, had no complaint of pain and did not require medical attention .
Strasser was placed under arrest and about 90 minutes after the traffic stop, was still more than twice the legal limit with a Blood Alcohol Content of .19. Strasser has a prior OWI conviction from 1999."
Chief Flynn issued the following statement Tuesday, April 17th: "Because Strasser's first OWI conviction is more than 10 years old, the current OWI charge is considered a first offense under Wisconsin state law. The City Attorney's Office has scheduled a preliminary appearance for this municipal violation. Additionally, the District Attorney's Office will be reviewing state charges of fleeing and resisting an officer.
Drunken driving continues to be a significant threat to the safety of both the public at large and law enforcement officers. It should be recalled that on December 25, Officer Frank Vrtochnick was seriously injured by a drunk driver, and within the past week, Officers RoseMarie Galindo and Corianna Chisum were injured by a drunken driver who struck their squad car head-on.
The Milwaukee Police Department is conducting a review, as required by its standard procedures, of the police use of force in this incident. After it is completed and reviewed by the Internal Affairs Division and the chain of command, the conclusions will be shared with the public at an appropriate time.
The Milwaukee Police Department is committed to maintaining high professional and ethical standards. The Fire and Police Commission has recently issued reports on the use of force by the Milwaukee Police Department showing that only 1% of arrests involve a use of force by a Department member. In 40% of those cases, the subject was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most frequently used type of force is "bodily force only."
Additionally, there are two new videos tied to the incident.
The video posted above shows another angle of the incident. The video below shows a short clip of the Lamborghini Strasser was driving prior to the incident involving the officer. That video clip proves Strasser was driving the vehicle without headlights on.
Bridget Boyle is Strasser’s attorney, and told FOX6 News she’s concerned about the two strikes the officer made to Strasser’s head. “This was not a focused strike to the area of the body that should be a focused strike. It was to the head. Which certainly can cause significant damage if not death,” Boyle said.
Boyle says for now, she’s just handling Strasser’s OWI. She says there is no decision on filing any lawsuits.