GREEN BAY – A Green Bay woman says an April incident involving a Green Bay police officer might have been avoided had the department investigated her complaint seven years ago.
Tina Melotte, 48, tells FOX 11 she filed a complaint in 2007 against the same officer in the now viral cell phone video. That officer is Derek Wicklund.
FOX 11 submitted a records request to the city for all of the complaints against Officer Wicklund. Late Thursday afternoon, the city handed over the records.
Since 2006, there have been 14 complaints against Officer Wicklund. Five of them were citizens complaining Wicklund used excessive force.
Melotte says in March of 2007 she had a bad night and called the Crisis Center. Two Green Bay police officers went to her apartment to check on her.
“It was just a welfare check,” said Melotte. “I went home the same night. It was not a big deal.”
Melotte says she was roughly handcuffed and put in a squad car to go to the Crisis Center. She says the officer’s actions caused bruising on her arms that lasted more than a week.
“I wasn’t a threat,” said Melotte. “They didn’t handcuff me from my apartment all the way down to the car.”
Ten days after the incident, Melotte filed a complaint with the Green Bay Police Department.
“I filed a complaint,” said Melotte. “They did photographs stuff, but I never heard anything afterwards.”
Melotte never followed up on the complaint.
“I assumed that it was taken care of,” said Melotte. “I never heard anything afterwards.”
FOX 11 found Melotte’s complaint as part of its open records request into Officer Wicklund. However, there was no evidence that it was investigated.
A document was included saying the complaint was being investigated, however it was dated May 5 of this year, seven years after the complaint was filed.
“The electronic copy that was printed off repopulated and essentially auto dated it when it was printed off,” said Tony Wachewicz, Green Bay’s city attorney.
Wachewicz was able to give FOX 11 a copy of the original document, dated April 12, 2007. What he couldn’t find, was a resolution to the complaint.
“At this point we’re unable to tell whether it was investigated or not,” said Wachewicz. “There is no hard copy of anything in the file that indicates a final resolution. The only thing that we have is a notation in our internal affairs computer program that indicates the final disposition was no policy violation.”
Wachewicz says anyone who files a citizen complaint normally receives a letter or phone call indicating a resolution was reached.
Melotte says she never received anything. She also says she didn’t know until now that the officer she filed her complaint about was the same officer from this video.
“If more people like me would have been heard along the way maybe this all wouldn’t have happened,” said Melotte.
Green Bay police referred all of FOX 11’s questions to Wachewicz.
However, FOX 11 was able to ask Captain Bill Galvin how Wicklund’s 14 complaints in eight years compares to other officers.
Galvin says he didn’t have the average number of complaints for the 180 or so officers that work at the department.
He says the department will crunch those numbers by hand.
Galvin says that could take a while.
The U.S. Department of Justice did a national study in 2002. It found for that year, for every 100 sworn-officers there were about 7 use of force complaints.