Open-carry activists to show opposition of GBPD officer

Open carry activist plans demonstration
Open carry activist plans demonstration

GREEN BAY - An Appleton man who has become known for his actions supporting gun rights says he'll be taking his message to Green Bay this weekend.

Charles Branstrom says he and other armed friends will gather outside a Green Bay bar where police and customers were involved in a confrontation last weekend.

Branstrom received police and public attention for two incidents in the Fox Cities last year. In September, Branstrom legally carried a rifle on College Avenue in Appleton near the farm market. In November, police stopped him in Neenah while he was legally carrying a 12-gauge shotgun.

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Branstrom says he'll be with a small group of people on Washington Street early Sunday morning, all carrying guns.

“Everybody I know has a cool head, I don't see a problem with it,” said Branstrom. “I guess it's up to Green Bay police if it's going to turn bad or not.”

Branstrom says the demonstration will be to show opposition to how Green Bay Police Officer Derek Wicklund acted in a now viral cell phone video.

The video was shot last weekend on Washington Street as people were leaving the bars at closing. You can hear 29-year-old Joshua Wenzel curse at Wicklund. You then see Wicklund take down Wenzel who was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

FOX 11 asked Branstrom why he is holding the event, and what his gun-rights message has to do with the video.

“We're doing this just to show that we're not going to stand by and let police brutality happen,” said Branstrom. “It seems to be a growing trend.”

Branstrom says police acted inappropriately toward him last year while he was legally carrying a gun.

Video from a police dash camera captured a Neenah police officer telling Branstrom what would happen if he were to ‘make an affirmative action toward’ his weapon.

“I'm going to shoot you in the head, nothing personal but that's the world we live in OK?” said the officer.

Neenah police defended what the officers did and said.

“We received numerous phone calls about two individuals with weapons in front of a school so it was certainly an appropriate response,” said Captain Tom Long with the Neenah Police Department on Nov. 7, 2013.

As for the actions of Wicklund last weekend, his police union calls them justifiable, legal, and lawful. The Green Bay Police Department is conducting an internal investigation to determine if the department agrees.

Lt. Chad Ramos with the Green Bay Police Department says the department is not going to reveal any additional plans it might have for when Branstrom's demonstration is planned.