Changes proposed regarding MPD's "use of force policy"

MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 News has learned some big changes are on the way regarding Milwaukee Police Department's "use of force policy."

In April, Jeffrey Strasser was arrested by Milwaukee police after they say he was speeding down Juneau Avenue in a black Lamborghini. A criminal complaint indicates at one point, the Lamborghini was estimated to be traveling 60 miles-per-hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone. Strasser did not pull over for officers in pursuit.

Eventually, the exotic car pulled into a parking lot at Juneau and Water. The complaint says Strasser refused to unlock the car at first. Once the door opened up, he also refused to show his hands. The complaint says that's when Strasser was physically removed from the car and placed under arrest.

The incident was captured on cell phone video. The video shows Strasser being struck by an officer after Strasser was removed from the car.

Milwaukee police later concluded concluded Officer Eric Ratzmann was justified in the use of focused strikes to Strasser. No citizen complaint was ever filed regarding the arrest. Police said Officer Ratzmann would receive policy training regarding the use of profanity during the incident.

According to MPD data, force was used in less than one percent of all arrests in the first half of 2012. According to current policy, unless a subject is injured by police, they aren't required to report the use of bodily force.

However, a newly proposed policy would change that -- and likely change the data.

In a statement released to FOX6 News, MPD says: "The Department will review the recommendations, make any suggested modifications and engage in a discussion with the Board of Commissioners prior to implementation of the finalized policy changes."

Criminal defense attorney Robin Shellow has represented Strasser throughout his court proceedings. She believes force should never be used.

"We should report force. Let's try a new sheet of paper -- no more force against citizens. If there are exceptions to that, then maybe the exceptions should be written down," Shellow said.

Other proposed changes include a new provision restricting when officers can draw their guns, and adding the "duty to intervene." This new provision would require onlooking cops to step in when one of their peers uses excessive force.

Shellow told FOX6 News she does not believe these new policies will make a difference when it comes to MPD's use of force incidents.

Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission will discuss these proposed changes at their next meeting on Thursday night, November 1st.

Strasser's case is still in the justice system. His final pre-trial is scheduled for January 9th, with his jury trial set to start six days later.