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Kenosha officer cleared of any wrongdoing in taser incident

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey says an officer who used a taser to control a man who he believed was ready to fight him "properly utilized the training provided to him."

That officer was called to the scene of a fight in Kenosha in July 2012. Dashcam video shows just 15 seconds after getting out of his squad, the officer pulled out a taser and deployed it. That caused the suspect, 32-year-old Keenan Smith, to fall flat on his back.

In a letter to the Kenosha Police & Fire Commission on Monday, February 18th, Chief Morrissey writes, "Physically fighting with a suspect, and perhaps using a striking implement such as a nightstick or baton, carries with it a significant potential for injury." He adds, "The use of the taser has reduced the injuries to the subjects as well as officers."

Chief Morrissey also writes, "The use of a taser...was not only reasonable...but it was also tactically advisable based on Mr. Smith's aggressive, threatening behavior."

Chief Morrissey also stated the several indicates that Smith was an immediate threat. These include:

  • The nature of the call (disturbance call)
  • 911 call stating several people were about to fight
  • Smith failed to show signs of compliance or obey the commands of the police officer
  • Smith turned towards the officer in what could be described as a fighting stance

In the end, Chief Morrissey determined the use of force in this case was within the Kenosha Police Department policy, it was a reasonable use of force, and discipline for the officer is not warranted.

"They followed the procedures. This is what they're trained, this is how they're trained," said Morrissey.

Four other experts also investigated this case with Kenosha police. They include a former FBI agent. All concluded the officer acted appropriately.

The Kenosha Police & Fire Commission agreed with the investigation -- also clearing the officer of wrongdoing.

"I'm satisfied what the police officer did was proper procedure," said Ron Frederick, FPC President.

Back in November 2012, FOX6 News spoke with Smith, the man who was tased. He insisted then he was not resisting and the force was inappropriate.

Smith did not want to go on camera with FOX6 News again. He says he's baffled and speechless; disappointed the officer was found to have done nothing wrong.

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