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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

[WI] Lawsuit addressing Deputy Peterson's domestic violence massacre likely going to Supreme Court


The families of six young people gunned down by a rogue sheriff's deputy in one of the most horrific mass shootings in Wisconsin history can't challenge the county's decision to hire him, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler Peterson showed up at a party at his ex-girlfriend's apartment in Crandon in October 2007. He got into an argument with her, left the apartment and returned with his county-issued assault rifle...

Victims of Forest County Sheriff's Deputy / Crandon Police Officer Tyler Peterson:


One survivor: Charles Neitzel

WISCONSIN APPEALS COURT REFUSES TO ALLOW FAMILIES TO CHALLENGE ROGUE POLICE OFFICER'S HIRING
Associated Press
Todd Richmond 
October 18, 2011

MADISON, Wis. — The families of six young people gunned down by a rogue sheriff's deputy in one of the most horrific mass shootings in Wisconsin history can't challenge the county's decision to hire him, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler Peterson showed up at a party at his ex-girlfriend's apartment in Crandon in October 2007. He got into an argument with her, left the apartment and returned with his county-issued assault rifle.

He opened fire and killed six people in less than a minute. Peterson shot Charles Neitzel three times but Neitzel survived by playing dead. Peterson, who was 20 at the time, later killed himself.

Neitzel and the families of four of the other victims filed a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit in 2008 against the county and the city of Crandon, which employed Peterson as a part-time police officer.

They claimed law enforcement officials knew Peterson had mental problems and a history of violence and wrongly gave him access to weapons.

Oneida County Circuit Judge Mark Mangerson handled the case for Forest County Judge Leon Stenz, who recused himself from the proceedings. Stenz was the district attorney in Forest County when the shootings occurred.

Mangerson ultimately dismissed the families' claims last year, ruling the county and city were immune from such a lawsuit. He ruled that Wisconsin law protects government subdivisions from liability when they make discretionary decisions, including the hiring of employees.

The families dismissed the city from their appeal but continued to pursue the case against the county, making a broad argument that government immunity should be limited.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals disagreed, noting in a concise three-page decision that the state Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that government bodies are immune from lawsuits when they make discretionary decisions.

The families' attorney, James A. Olson, told The Associated Press in an email that he expected the appeals court to uphold the dismissal because only the state Supreme Court can change the immunity doctrine. He said he anticipates the families will ask the high court to take the case.

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Bradley Schultz 20, Lindsey Stahl, 14 Lianna Thomas 17 Katrina McCorkle 18 Aaron Smith, 20 police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder suicide massacre double triple homicide wisconsin state politics]

1 comment:

  1. ...Peterson got his SWAT assault rifle out of his truck, walked back to the apartment and broke down the door. He sprayed the apartment with bullets, killing Murray, 18, and five of her friends... [LINK]

    According to interviews conducted with friends of both Murray and Peterson, there was a history of violence in their relationship dating back to high school... [LINK]

    ..."There was a known danger in that the departments were aware of Tyler Peterson's propensity toward violence and his history of anger-control issues," Peg Lautenschlager, the attorney for the four families and Neitzel, said Monday. "Nonetheless, they continued to allow him to carry a firearm and … didn't do any kind of follow up to determine this level of danger"... [LINK]

    ... he was 20 years old and had been in law enforcement for less than a year. He hired on when he was 19... As in some other jurisdictions, no psychological testing is required in Wisconsin for prospective LEOs and none was voluntarily administered to Tyler Peterson... [LINK]

    ...Prior sexual assault and domestic violence? Coverup? Just how unqualifed to be a law enforcement officer was Peterson?... Forest County Sheriff's Department hired Peterson without having him take any psychological tests. They also claim both city and county leaders ignored warning signs, including allegations of domestic abuse... “Allowing these claims to proceed would place too high a burden on law enforcement agencies”... [Oneida County Judge Mark A. Mangerson] wrote. “It would, in essence, require agencies to absolutely guarantee the mental health of all officers hired, as opposed to merely following the hiring guidelines already imposed by the legislature and the LESB (Law Enforcement Standards Board). Such a requirement would not only place a high economic burden on law enforcement agencies, but would create a physical impossibility, as there is simply no test that can guarantee the mental health of law enforcement officers”... [LINK]

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