By Todd Richmond
MADISON, Wis. — A state appeals court reinstated a police excessive force lawsuit against Kenosha on Wednesday, saying it’s unclear whether the officer acted reasonably when she pushed and twisted a man’s legs to get him inside a squad car.
Daniel Wilson filed the lawsuit last year alleging that Officer Susan Webb injured him when she arrested him and forced him into a squad car in May 2011. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Anthony Milisauskas dismissed the lawsuit in March after the city argued that Webb acted reasonably.
The 2nd District Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that Wilson’s case looked weak but that it was not clear Webb’s actions were reasonable. The court noted that city does not dispute Wilson’s contention that Webb’s actions caused him pain.
According to court documents, Wilson was recovering from back surgery at his girlfriend’s home when he woke up to find a paroled sex offender who had molested his girlfriend’s niece sitting at the kitchen table. His girlfriend had invited the sex offender and his family over for pizza because they were homeless, according to the filings. Wilson became angry and broke a table. His girlfriend called the police.
Webb and another officer arrived. Wilson left the house at Webb’s order but she arrested him outside after he began swearing when neighbors asked him what had happened.
Wilson said he warned Webb that he had just had back surgery, but Webb used only one set of handcuffs on him rather than two, injuring his back. He also contends that she forced him to walk too fast to the car, pushed him across the backseat and twisted and contorted his legs in an effort to get them inside, further injuring his back.
The city’s attorney, Robert Dumez, could not immediately be reached Wednesday. He argued in filings with the 2nd District, though, that Webb did not hit, kick or punch Wilson and did not use harsh language with him.
Wilson’s attorney also could not immediately be reached.