Society

Wisconsin Police Kill Hostage Without Warning (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Michael FunkMichael Funk

A police cruiser dashcam video (below) of police shooting hostage Michael Funk on Dec. 5, 2015 surfaced on April 28 and contradicted a statement made by the Neenah Police Department in Wisconsin on the day of the shooting.

Funk and two other men were reportedly being held hostage by Brian Flatoff when police tried to enter the back door of the Eagle Nation Cycles store.

In the video, recently obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, the officers scramble after Flatoff allegedly fires a gun at them from inside the store.

Moments later, Funk exits the store through the back door, pulls a handgun, crouches behind Flatoff's truck and tries to run across an alley before being fatally shot by police.

Popular Video

A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

Popular Video

A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

Funk didn’t aim his gun at officers or fire it.

A statement on Dec. 5, 2015 by the Neenah Police Department described Funk as the male subject: "A short time later a male subject exited the business with a firearm. This subject did not comply with officers’ instructions to drop the firearm and was subsequently shot at by one or more officers on scene. We do not know if he was also shot at by the subject inside the business."

However, the video shows the police did not tell Funk to "drop the firearm," rather, the cops simply shot him.

Neenah Police chief Kevin Wilkinson, who issued the statement at the time, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin on April 28, "The video does not give any indication that there was a verbal command given directly to Michael Funk before he was shot."

Wilkinson said the information came from witness statements.

"If it turns out that there were no commands, as we don't hear in this video that you posted today, then that would indicate that those witnesses were wrong," he said.

The witnesses would logically include the officer or officers who shot Funk.

The police criminal complaint filed against Flatoff said Menasha police officer Raymond Berna heard the cops shout, "Police, show me your hands," or "Police, drop the gun" before they killed Funk.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has been conducting its own investigation of the shooting, but has yet to release a statement and would not comment on the video.

Wilkinson said the video showed that the cops "acted in accordance with their training." 

"Ultimately, what I think is not as important as what the Attorney General's Office thinks," Wilkinson added. "They are the ones who will make the ruling whether it was a justified shooting or not."

In his December 2015 statement, Wilkinson said: "Gold Cross Ambulance was able to provide medical care and transport [Funk] to Theda Clark Hospital. That subject later died as a result of his injures."

However, Funk reportedly "died at the scene and lay in the alley for at least 25 minutes," according to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

After Funk was shot, the cops reportedly brought an armored vehicle into the alley, but did not try to render aid to him.

Wilkinson's original statement did not mention that the officers initially stopped a driver on a nearby street who was not the shooter.

Soon after that mistake, Flatoff reportedly warned through an open telephone line that he was going to kill all his hostages if the police were called.

Wilkinson said in his original statement, "The Neenah police officers who were quickly on scene today are among the most highly-trained officers in the state in handling critical incidents, and I am very proud of the skill and character that our team demonstrated in the face of very difficult and dangerous circumstances."

After the officers were shot at and scrambled away from the back door, one cop radioed: "We're not sure if these were actually hostages, or if it's a bait pile (trap for police), so we backed out."

(Note: Michael Funk part of video begins at 2:00 mark

Sources: USA TODAY NETWORK - Wisconsin via Oshkosh Northwestern, Neenah Police Department via Post-Crescent / Photo credit: Neenah Police Department via Amayy Amandaa/YouTube

With the police contradictions to the video, could there be a cover-up?
Yes - 100%
Yes - 0%