November 08, 2021

Judges: Public has right to know former deputy’s discipline records

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently made a key ruling on police transparency and clarified that law enforcement discipline records are in fact public records.

The ruling stems from a WISN 12 investigation into former Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy Joel Streicher, who ran a red light while looking at his squad computer in January of 2020. Streicher hit another vehicle and killed 47-year-old Ceasar Stinson, who was a dedicated community activist and loving husband/father.

After the crash, Streicher tried to stop WISN 12 from getting his disciplinary records. Initially, a judge agreed. But the state Court of Appeals ruled that the public’s right to know about police misconduct supersedes Streicher’s right to keep his service record a secret.

As the Stinson family attorney, GTW partner Mark Thomsen joined WISN 12 to discuss the new ruling and the precedent it will set for similar cases in the future.

“It sends a very clear message to the public and to law enforcement that you can’t hide police misconduct. We’re done with that.” – Mark Thomsen

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