Kenosha Wis., Releases Use of Force Investigation Into Arrest Of Black Applebee’s Customers

A police encounter escalated when cops tried to make a wrongful arrest.

The Kenosha Police Department in Wisconsin announced Friday (Nov. 17) the suspension of two officers caught on video violently arresting a Black man at an Applebee’s restaurant who was not involved in the crime they suspected him of committing.

Investigators later found the suspect in the July hit-and-run incident hiding in the restaurant’s bathroom.  

“As many people have seen, two other individuals, Jermelle English and Shanya Boyd, were also taken into custody during the course of the investigation,” a police statement read, according to the Kenosha News.

“Force was used in affecting those arrests, which in turn automatically triggered an internal review of this incident. After an exhaustive review by our department and the West Allis Police Department, we identified violations of Kenosha Police Department policy committed by both Officer (Luke) Courtier and Officer (Michael) Vences.”

WLS reported that on July 20, officers entered the Applebee’s searching for a Black man, woman and child who fled a nearby accident. They were directed to English, his 1-year-old son, and Boyd, his partner, who were the only Black people sitting in the restaurant dining room. 

English was holding his son, Taquarius, in his arms when officers forcibly detained and violently beat him. Officiers charged English, 24, and Boyd, now 22, with resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. Authorities have not dropped the charges.

Vences received a four-day suspension. Investigators said his initial use of force was “reasonable” but that “he should have re-evaluated the effectiveness of those strikes and considered other options to overcome Mr. English’s resistance.”

Courtier received a 10-day suspension. The report noted that he “failed to decontaminate Ms. Boyd after utilizing pepper spray and did not meet the standards of the Kenosha Police Department in regard to professional communication, the safe operation of department vehicles and report writing.” 

Kenosha Police Chief Patrick Patton released a video accompanying the department’s written statement. He said a video taken by a restaurant employee and posted on social media didn’t show everything that happened. 

Patton added that misinformation has circulated, including a rumor that the police used pepper spray on English’s toddler. He also denied that officers racially profiled the Black family.

A lawyer representing the family said legal action is pending.

"It is clear that the Chief's actions in putting out this video makes a lawsuit against the department an absolute necessity. The lawsuit will not only be for monetary compensation for the violation of this family's civil rights but will also seek injunctive relief demanding that a federal judge order and oversee police changes within the Kenosha police department to prevent the recurrent abuses to the public's civil rights," the statement read, according to WLS.

Civil rights activists have called on authorities to fire the two officers. NAACP Kenosha Branch past president Veronica King has also called for a federal probe of the police department.

Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Will Not Face Civil Rights Charges

Kenosha, located about 40 miles south of Milwaukee, has over 98,000 residents. The city became an epicenter of racial justice protests after a White police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back in August 2020 during a domestic disturbance, paralyzing the Black man. 

In a separate incident, a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse, an Antioch, Ill., 18-year-old, who traveled to Kenosha during the protests and fatally shot two demonstrators. It was a contentious trial that touched on the volatile issues of race and gun control.

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