APPLETON – Questions are being asked about how police officers handled an incident in Appleton this week that led to four arrests.
Cell phone video of Monday’s disturbance was taken just outside the Appleton Public Library as police made several arrests.
Witnesses told FOX 11 the situation escalated fast.
Edward Wichmann told us he saw the whole thing, saying, “they were just standing over here, talking to each other and all of a sudden the cops had pulled up and then started arresting people.”
Police Sgt. David Lund told us officers were called there to reports of a fight Monday afternoon. Lund said when officers arrived a group had gathered. He said two people were arrested for threatening police and yelling profanities.
“Those individuals started to resist being placed in the squad cars, started to resist, kind of pull away from officers,” Lund explained.
According to Lund, one suspect tried to hit an officer. He said as the incident escalated, several backup officers were called.
In all, four people were arrested.
“It really becomes, then, not only a public safety issue, but an officer safety issue when there’s multiple people in that area,” said Lund.
But some who say they witnessed the incident tell us they question police officers’ actions.
“I could see that the cops would come over here and ask them to disperse, but I don’t see why they would come over here and start arresting everybody for no apparent reason. I didn’t see no fighting, nothing,” said Wichmann.
Wichmann told us he was disturbed by officers bringing the suspects to the ground, which you can see in the video.
“They started taking everybody down for absolutely no reason,” Wichmann said.
But Lund told us that was to ensure officers’ safety.
“That would be one of our trained tactics, to de-centralize someone, or bring them to the ground, to get them, not only under control, but it some cases to do the handcufffs,” the police sergeant explained.
Three minors were among the four arrested. According to police, two of the minors were drunk at the time.
Police recommended charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
According to Lund, no officers were hurt in the disturbance, but one of the suspects did receive minor injuries.
Lund told us this is not the first time police have been called to that area. He said it’s a priority to keep the library and Valley Transit office safe.