Kenosha police officers suspended for wrongfully, forcefully arresting couple in Applebee's
Friday afternoon, the Kenosha Police Department released its own 32-page investigation into the Applebee's incident that happened back in July.
We're just now learning two of its officers, Officer Courtier and Officer Vences were suspended.
The investigation report includes witness statements, information reports, and several hours of body camera and dash-camera footage.
On July 20, just before 11 p.m., Kenosha police officers responded to a car crash on Green Bay Road and Highway 50. Witnesses told police several people in one of the cars ran off toward a shopping plaza.
Police from Pleasant Prairie were called in to help search for the people who ran.
According to the investigation, Pleasant Prairie police officers searched a nearby Applebee's and didn't find the suspects. A few minutes after they left, a manager at the restaurant called dispatch and said a couple matching the description of the suspects were there.
Pleasant Prairie police then returned to the Applebee's along with Kenosha police.
Body camera video from Kenosha police shows two sets of officers talking to two different groups of people, at the same time.
At a table inside the restaurant, sits a couple with their child, Jermelle English and Shanya Boyd. On the other side of Applebee's, inside the men's restroom, you see several people sitting and standing.
The investigation found a Pleasant Prairie police officer told both Courtier and Vences, the suspended officers, that he didn't think English and Boyd were involved in the hit-and-run, but officers continued questioning them anyway.
Things escalate at the table when officers press English and Boyd about how they got to the restaurant and how long they've been there. When English tries to walk away from officers, with his child in his arms, officers grab his arm.
Body camera footage of this incident is inconsistent, at times going in and out.
Video shows an officer grab English's arm and then the camera shuts off. Nearly 30 seconds later, the camera comes back on, showing an officer pulling English's hair as someone else grabs the child.
Body camera video doesn't show that officer striking English several times, but we saw that months ago in a cell phone video taken by an Applebee's employee.
The investigation found no justifiable reasoning for the strikes. The report does state it's plausible that during the struggle with the man, the camera's record button was inadvertently pressed, meaning it was turned off.
Back in the bathroom, police arrest the five people inside. Through their body cameras, you can hear Boyd from the table screaming.
Video shows multiple officers dragging Boyd out of the booth, and onto the ground, with several officers on top of her. She's also pepper sprayed.
The report states the officer who pepper-sprayed her didn't administer medical aid, which is against department policy.
Both Boyd and English were eventually taken into custody, as well as the five people from the bathroom. That group was charged in connection with the original crash.
While Boyd is in the back of a squad car, body cam video shows the officer threatening to call child protective services. He also told jail staff she was being combative, which triggered additional armed officers waiting for her arrival at the jail.
The report says an investigator watched video from the squad car and determined the woman wasn't combative.
The investigation states Officer Courtier violated policies including the department's mission, vision and core values, use of force, safe operation of departmental vehicles, general rules and regulations, and police reports. Officer Vences violated policies including mission, vision, and core values, use of force, and police reports.
Courtier was suspended for ten days and Vences was suspended for four.
It's important to note that all of these details are from Kenosha's internal investigation, which you can read at the bottom of this article.
While TMJ4 sifted through the report Friday, we found inconsistencies in Kenosha's reporting as well as a lack of body camera footage.
West Allis also did their own investigation into the matter and found the officers didn't violate the use of force policies.
Tanya McLean and her community group Leaders of Kenosha have been advocating for transparency in this case since the summer. They tell TMJ4 they're disappointed with the punishment given to the officers involved.
"I think they should be charged, and I think they should be fired, but that's not what the reality is," McLean said. "They clearly exhibited very poor judgment, and I don't feel that it’s judgment that warrants them carrying a weapon and wearing that uniform."
"We just feel that it signals back to the Black and Brown community that you can assault us, you can do negative things to us, you can victimize us, and there are no consequences. Or if there are any consequences, they’re very minute."