Video Proves Wisconsin Police Lied About Shooting and Killing Hostage
Wisconsin police shot and killed a hostage during a standoff in December, claiming the man had a gun and refused to drop it when ordered to do so.
But a newly released dash cam video shows that Neenah police shot him dead without issuing a single order.
Neenah police also claimed that they transported Michael L. Funk to the hospital after shooting him, which is where he ended up dying.
But the video shows they left him lying in the street for 25 minutes where he was pronounced dead.
Nevertheless, police have charged the hostage taker, Brian Flatoff, with his murder.
The video was obtained by USA Today Network-Wisconsin despite its public records requests for the video being denied by the Department of Justice, the Neenah Police Department, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office.
According to the Post-Crescent:
Police officers gave hostage Michael L. Funk no warning to drop his handgun before they shot and killed him Dec. 5 outside Eagle Nation Cycles, according to video evidence obtained exclusively by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
A prepared statement that was issued by Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson about 10 hours after the shooting said Funk was shot after he didn’t obey police commands to drop his handgun.
In addition, the criminal complaint against accused hostage-taker Brian T. Flatoff stated Menasha police officer Raymond Berna heard officers yell, “Police, show me your hands” or “Police, drop the gun” before officers shot Funk.
The video, which was recorded by a dashboard camera of a Neenah police car, contradicts those statements.
Police brought an armored vehicle into the alley after Funk was shot, but they made no attempt to help him.
When Neenah acquired its armored military surplus truck in May 2014, police justified the acquisition to elected officials by saying it could be used for protection when confronting armed, barricaded suspects. They also said it could be used to evacuate people from an unsafe scene.
The incident took place on December 5, 2015 in a motorcycle shop called Eagle Nation Cycles where Flatoff took Funk and three other men hostage at gunpoint over a dispute about a motorcycle.
Flatoff began firing at police when they responded, so they pulled back and took positions outside the business.
Minutes later, Funk ran out the door with Flatoff shooting at him.
Funk then either fell to the ground or dove to the ground, taking cover behind Flatoff’s truck, pulling out a gun and pointing it in Flatoff’s direction.
The concealed weapons permit holder then turned and took a couple of steps as to make his escape.
But that was when police opened fire on him.
The cops had been hiding behind the corner of another building about 75 feet away.
The video shows Funk never pointed the gun at them nor did they ever say anything to him. The video indicates he probably didn’t even know police were there.
Funk’s widow has since filed a $3.5 million wrongful death suit.
Flatoff surrendered after several hours and is now facing more 16 felony charges carrying combined sentences of more than 300 years.