2 previous complaints filed against MPD officer seen striking OWI suspect

WTMJ News Team

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

2 previous complaints filed against MPD officer seen striking OWI suspect

By WTMJ News Team. CREATED Apr 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 23, 2012

MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee police officer seen striking an OWI suspect near N. Water St. and E. Juneau Ave. has had two other citizen complaints filed against him.

That officer's actions are currently the center of an internal affairs police investigation.

One of the complaints came back in April, 2007 and the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission suggested mediation for the case.  But when the person behind the complaint failed to respond, the commission closed it.

And just last Friday, another complaint came in.  The commission's executive director wouldn't tell TODAY'S TMJ4 the nature of the allegations, citing an open investigation.

But Michael Tobin, executive director of the Milwaukee and Police Fire Commission did speak out in a statement about the violent Water Street arrest, saying, "I am concerned that this incident has the potential to erode the public's trust in MPD."

Specifically, Tobin's concerned about the video's influence on those who see it.  He wrote:

"The police department has to earn the public's trust every day by acting appropriately in everything they do. Sometimes an officer can be acting within the policy standards but still be inappropriate in their actions."

TODAY'S TMJ4 took the new information to Common Council President Willie Hines.  He's also following the case closely and reminds people, officers do have the right to use force -- and it's not always pretty.  "You want to hope they're not abusing their powers, hope that they're staying to the standard policies and practices," said Hines.

TODAY'S TMJ4 contacted the police department for comment on the commission's statement.  A spokeswoman referred TODAY'S TMJ4 back to the chief's comments at a press conference on Friday.