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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fond du Lac, WI - FdL police officer gets 3-day suspension for treatment of prisoner

A Fond du Lac Police Department officer will be suspended for three days without pay and receive remedial training for slamming a handcuffed prisoner onto a table at the Fond du Lac County Jail, a move that resulted in a severe cut to the man’s head.
Capt. Steve Thiry’s investigation concluded that Officer Joel Gudex did not follow department defensive and arrest guidelines, as well as Wisconsin Department of Justice training and standards, according to a news release.
During the investigation, Police Department training supervisor Lt. Aaron Goldstein consulted with use-of-force instructors and practitioners and determined that “Officer Gudex’s perspective that Lund was a frequent threat during the complaint was found to be credible,” the release said.
However, the release states, “It was determined though that Officer Gudex relied too much on his experiences in law enforcement and not enough on applicable tactics and control measures.”
Police Chief Tony Barthuly determined that Gudex acted “within the scope of his authority at the moment force was used under circumstances that were tense, uncertain and, at times, rapidly evolving.”
Police administration began investigating the actions of Gudex after the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department issued an excessive force complaint on Oct. 29. Correctional officers and jail staff observed the incident on the morning 49-year-old John Lund was taken to jail by Gudex and Officer Jeff Klintworth, said Sheriff Mick Fink.
Video of the incident and police reports regarding the arrest of Lund were released following an open records request made by The Reporter.
At 4:21 p.m. on Oct. 28, Lund and his mother, Marjorie Bengtson, 76, were given a voucher to stay at the Executive Lodge motel, 649 W. Johnson St., because they had no heat at their Driftwood Drive home.
City police were called to the Executive Lodge at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 29 because Lund, who is mentally challenged, was throwing fruit at a worker, said Deputy Chief Kevin Lemke.
A police report completed by Gudex details how he located Lund east of the motel. Gudex said Lund was showing “pre-attack postures” and was using a “thousand yard stare,” according to his report.
Lund took off running east on Johnson Street. Gudex chased Lund, eventually fell, somersaulted and returned to his feet. Gudex noted that scraped his knee and had an abrasion on his left palm. Gudex arrested Lund without a fight, according to the report.
The video from the Fond du Lac County Jail begins with Klintworth pulling his squad car into the jail garage.
A handcuffed Lund voluntarily exits the vehicle and walks with the officers. Another camera shows the officers waiting at the entrance to the jail. A verbal exchange occurs between Gudex and Lund.
The video shows no Sheriff’s Department deputies visible at the time of the incident. When a correctional officer sees Lund on the table, additional officers begin to arrive and hold a towel to a cut while another goes to get a nurse.
Fink said the nurse deemed Lund’s injury too severe for him to stay at the jail. Klintworth and Gudex transported Lund to St. Agnes Hospital, according to Fink. Gudex’s report said Lund was combative at the hospital, threatened to kill the officers and caused Gudex to bump his knee into a bed.
A portion of his report reads: “Correctional Officer (Jen) Palmer stated, ‘I am sick and tired of you guys doing this stuff. He was perfectly fine when he came into the jail, walking just fine, you did not need to do this.”
Gudex informed Palmer she did not know what Lund was doing before the incident. Correctional Officer Kevin Cable apologized to Gudex for Palmer’s actions, according to the report, and Gudex notes he felt Palmer was “out of line.”
However, Fink told The Reporter, that “When the handcuffs are on, the fight is over.”