GREEN BAY – Green Bay police say the man being arrested in a viral video “refused” to be a part of an investigation into whether excessive force was used by the arresting officer.
Police announced the findings of its report Tuesday morning.
The department found Officer Derek Wicklund’s use of force was justified in Joshua Wenzel’s arrest. That happened shortly after bar close in downtown Green Bay this past April.
Wicklund’s arrest of Wenzel was captured on video. It shows Wicklund wrestling Wenzel to the ground.
But police say in-depth analysis of that video – that went viral on social media – and three never-before-seen videos paint a clearer picture as to why Wicklund used the force he did.
When asked how satisfied the public would be with the results, Lt. Chad Ramos said “The investigation we put together – I can assure you – was very thorough."
But it did not include Joshua Wenzel.
"We gave him the opportunity to talk to us, but he refused," said Ramos.
"Lt. Jeff Brester and I did have a phone conversation with him,” Capt. Jim Runge quickly said, following Ramos. “Subsequently, we tried to meet in person and he declined, via his attorney.”
Wenzel lives in the Milwaukee area. FOX 11 reached out to him and did not hear back, but we spoke with his attorney.
"Is there a reason why Mr. Wenzel or you did not cooperate with investigators as a part of their investigation?" asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston.
"It was strictly to protect Mr. Wenzel from making a statement that could negatively impact in defending against these citations, as well as any future litigation," said Wenzel’s defense attorney Nathan Dineen.
Dineen says Wenzel's cases in municipal court – disorderly conduct and resisting arrest – will not be impacted by the report’s findings, but says his client is unhappy.
"I've spoken with Mr. Wenzel about the DOJ and Green Bay's findings and obviously he's extremely disappointed with the findings, as should – I would argue – a lot of the citizens from Green Bay."
Wenzel did talk to FOX 11 three days after the incident. He said didn't step toward Wicklund or touch him and doesn't know Wicklund’s reasoning or logic.
"People had their minds made up,” said Ramos after the cell phone video went viral. “And when you look at this (incident) from the different (camera) angles we did, I think it's clear to see that there's definitely more to the story."
Ramos says Wicklund doesn't want to talk to the media about the investigation's results. But did say how he reacted to the findings.
"He went through a lot – and his family,” said Ramos. “I'm confident with what we did; I just want to see him keep his professional career moving forward and us - as a community moving beyond this."
Ramos says Wicklund will return to regular patrol duty soon.
FOX 11’s calls for comment to the president of the Green Bay Professional Police Association have gone unreturned.