AG: Neenah officers' actions 'selfless and heroic,' won't be charged in fatal shooting

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel releases the results of investigation into the December fatal shooting of Michael Funk by Neenah police, May 6, 2016, in Neenah. (WLUK/Alexa Santos)

On Dec. 5, Brian Flatoff came to Eagle Nation cycles and held several men hostage. When police arrived, an intense shootout took place. One of the hostages, Michael Funk ran out the back door, and was shot dead by police.

The lingering question all these months has been whether or not the officers who shot Funk were justified in their response. Friday, Attorney General Brad Schimel and the Wisconsin Department of Justice gave their answer.

"We conclude that officers Hoffer and Ross acted in an objectively reasonable manner and were justified in their use of deadly force. Thus, no criminal charges will be issued against any officer," Schimel said.

Schimel laid out the what the complex and thorough investigation found. That officers on scene thought the hostage situation was actually a setup.

"Nobody looked like they were in distress and no one said anything to signal distress, Officer Hoffer said it was like the people inside were taking up ambush positions," Schimel said.

Schimel says officers were also led to believe only one gun was inside Eagle Nation, and it belonged to the hostage taker. So when Michael Funk ran out the back door, officers thought he was in fact the suspect.

"The evidence is that they did not recognize the person they shot, and they believed the person they shot was the armed hostage taker," he said.

The City of Neenah also commented on the DOJ's findings and released the results of its own investigation into the incident.

Schimel called the actions of the officers heroic, but friends of Michael Funk firmly disagree.

"I am totally disappointed, I think this is just absurd. My heart just broke for Michael, he was a good friend, he was a nice guy. I learned today that I don't believe justice was served," said Kay Reetz, a friend of Funk.

"Our conclusion today is not that the officers were right, our conclusion today is simply that because a reasonable person could come to the conclusions they came to, we would NOT be able to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt and the officers acted in reasonable self defense," said Schimel.

For now, those close to Funk say they are taking it one day at a time.

Brian Flatoff has been charged with Funk's murder and for initiating the crime which led to Funk's death.

State investigators also noted Friday that they believe one of Funk's nine bullet wounds came from Flatoff.


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