Green Bay police defend use of force in recent arrest, release body cam footage

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The Green Bay Police Department wants to clear the air on an arrest video that may have raised some concerns.

Eight charges were filed against 24-year-old Edward Curtis in Brown County on Wednesday, but the way he was arrested is what police are addressing.

Green Bay Police Chief Chris Davis says Curtis struggled with officers, and even tried to run away at one point, when they were trying to take him into custody. Davis says that is why his officers had to use force.

While cellphone video provides one perspective of the arrest, Davis says body camera video shows a better one.

“From the perspective of the person with the cellphone camera filming this, it looks like maybe the officer is seen striking the person who's on the ground in handcuffs, but when you look at the body camera footage, what he's actually doing is tightening the straps on the leg restraint,” said Davis. “It really does not look like, at this point, if there are any violations of our policies or any of our rules.”

Regardless of whether anything was done improperly, Davis says it is important to have conversations about incidents like this.

As for what led to the use of force, the body camera footage the department provided starts with officers already trying to get the suspect into the leg restraint wrap.

“The actual incident took a while before the video that we put out,” said Davis. “We wanted to put video out that specifically addressed the concern from the cellphone video we received.”

Chief Davis says you know the resistance has reached a decent level when the leg restraint wrap is used.

“I would say it's fairly uncommon,” said Davis. “Given the number of people we arrest, it's not unheard of.”

While Davis says it appears the officers acted appropriately, an official review is still being processed, and the training division will review the arrest as it does with all use of force incidents.

Curtis was wanted for outstanding warrants in Dane County and fleeing a traffic stop in Appleton.

His eight Brown County charges include receiving a stolen weapon, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer.

According to the department, paramedics were on the scene as a precaution and Curtis was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation before being booked into Brown County Jail.

Police explained their decision to release the video with this statement:

“Any time our officers use force, we conduct a thorough review to ensure our policies were followed. While the review of this incident is in progress, everything I have seen up to this point shows that the officers involved were confronted with a very dangerous situation involving an armed individual who resisted a lawful arrest. Officers are expected to attempt to de-escalate the situation and encourage voluntary compliance with lawful actions; in this case these efforts included trying to reason with Mr. Curtis, using multiple officers to try to deter further resistance, and applying restraints to prevent him from kicking them,” said Chief Chris Davis, Green Bay Police Department. “It’s important for the community to ask questions and share their concerns about how we in the police service do our work. Sometimes this helps us identify misconduct and hold our employees accountable. In this case, however, what looked from a distance like an officer striking a person in custody was actually the officer properly applying a restraint. I hope this provides clarity to our community, and I appreciate this being brought to our attention.”

Curtis is facing the following charges in Brown County: receiving a stolen firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, obstructing an officer, resisting an officer, disorderly conduct, possession of THC and two counts of bail jumping.

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