We watched more than 90 videos related to officers shooting a hostage outside Eagle Nation Cycles on Dec. 5, and have come to one conclusion: We have no confidence the leadership of the Neenah Police Department can run a force that protects its citizens.
The videos released by the Department of Justice are appalling in several ways.
- Neenah police officers look ill-prepared as they storm Eagle Nation Cycles and their retreat appears disorganized.
- Neenah police officer Craig Hoffer was shot in the helmet. Yet he went back on the scene after specifically being told not to by a police sergeant. He ended up shooting Michael L. Funk, a hostage who had escaped the motorcycle shop.
- Neenah police officers fired without warning. Officers did not order Funk to drop his handgun before shooting him. Rather, they yelled, "Show me your hands!" after they shot him and he hit the pavement. It would have taken literally less than a second to say "drop the gun" and an innocent man could still be alive.
- Most of all, we are outraged about the fact that a police officer gunned down a man and laughed about it.
This is indefensible.
There is not one person who can see video of a police officer laughing about killing a man and think that person should ever be employed as a cop with the power to kill.
Something is broken in the Neenah Police Department. The department is dysfunctional. The leadership is absent.
If the department's leadership team says its officers followed the department's policy — which was backed up by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and a consultant's report — then why is an innocent man dead?
And why are police laughing about it?
Neenah can't afford another innocent man gunned down by police and left to die.