Police chief: No apparent warning before man shot in Neenah
Did Neenah police warned a man to drop his gun before fatally shooting him outside Eagle Nation Cycles? There are doubts, after the Appleton Post Crescent obtained dash cam video of the incident.
The dash cam video does not show police giving Michael, ML Funk any warning before shooting him on That goes against what Neenah's police chief originally said happened.
The day of the shooting, Chief Kevin Wilkinson said witnesses heard officers tell Funk to drop the gun he was carrying. It was later revealed Funk was fleeing a hostage situation at the motorcycle shop.
Chief Kevin Wilkinson told FOX 11 he's seen the dash cam video many times.
"It does capture, I think, pretty accurately what happened there that tragic morning," he said.
We are unable to show you that video, because it has not been released by the Department of Justice. What can show is our own footage from December 5th.
The dash cam video shows Funk leaving Eagle Nation Cycles, then being shot by police.
"I don't think the video supports that there was any, that there was any warning prior to the shots. I didn't see or hear that in the video," explained Wilkinson.
The day of the shooting Wilkinson said Funk did not listen to officers' orders to drop his gun. However, Wilkinson told us Thursday that original information was from witnesses, not officers. He explained witness statements can sometimes be unreliable.
"Not being allowed to talk to our officers, because they were under investigation by the DOJ. So I could not get first-hand information from them," said Wilkinson.
Regardless, according to the police chief, officers do not have to give a warning before shooting.
"There's no legal requirement that a warning be given and there's no, we have no policy that requires a warning be given under those circumstances," he told FOX 11.
The requirement is that the officers involved truly feared for their lives, which, Wilkinson said, is still under investigation by the DOJ.
"And that's what matters. My own, personal perspective, based on 32 years of policing is that the officers did what they were trained to do," he explained.
Funk's family's attorney did not respond to our requests for comment about the dash cam video.
Wilkinson said he wants the public to see the footage. However, he told FOX 11 the DOJ would not let him release it.
"Certainly it isn't the whole picture, it doesn't tell the whole story, but it at least gives a good, basic understanding of what happened that day," said Wilkinson.
The police chief told us that right now, Funk's family is at the top of his mind.
"It's hard to watch. It's tragic anytime someone loses their life and so my heart goes out to them. I'm sure this is a very difficult time for them," he said.
Funk's wife has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Neenah Police Department. She is asking for $3.5 million in damages.
There is also a criminal case against the man accused of taking hostages at the shop, which led to the standoff.
Brian Flatoff is facing 16 counts, including attempted homicide. He pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.