Pewaukee Wisconsin officers open fire as soon as they see a carjacking suspect. Can they be sued for this use of force?

Feb 17, 2020 5:05 PM ET

While police are allowed to use their weapons to stop crime, they are expected to have a reason to justify their use of force. Waukesha County police officers opened fire and killed a suspect during a criminal investigation in Pewaukee Wisconsin.


Car chase suspect is shot when officers catch up in a parking lot

The incident began when witnesses who were at the Meadowbrook Park N’ Ride claim they saw a carjacking where an armed man robbed a victim near his vehicle. No one was injured during this first incident. Witnesses say that the man responsible for the crime was naked at the time, and he then got into the victim’s car and quickly drove off.

Police responded to the area and began to chase the stolen vehicle westbound on Interstate 94. The suspect took the Johnson Creek exit after the vehicle’s tires were damaged by road spikes put out by police. Officers claim that the suspect waved the gun in the air as the car was slowing down. The stolen car was eventually stopped in the parking lot of an Arby’s fast food restaurant. Police saw the suspect get out of the car and start to run in the direction of the restaurant when they opened fire with several shots. The suspect was given medical treatment, but died a short time afterward. A spokesperson with the local police refused to answer questions regarding whether the suspect pointed the gun at anyone or fired any shots during the entire course of the chase and his flight.

A sheriff’s deputy and one other officer involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave while the shooting was investigated. The local sheriff also claims that none of the officers involved in the chase and shooting were wearing body cameras at the time. The identities of the victim and the officers are not being released to the public.


Are police allowed to kill a suspect to end a crime in progress?

Police are allowed to use deadly force, but there must be some kind of clear and imminent threat for them to do so. It is suspicious that the officers in this story declined to comment on whether the suspect had ever actually fired the weapon or pointed it at anyone. In most instances, the fact that a suspect is armed does not mean that they can be shot on sight. Illegal uses of force can become the basis for a police brutality lawsuit.


Talk to an attorney about law enforcement misconduct

If you have been harmed by the police in Pewaukee or any nearby towns, there is assistance available from experienced attorneys. Gende Law Office can speak with you about the possibility of a lawsuit or other remedies.

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