Off-duty officer faces a year behind bars for altercation during protest
MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee police officer is charged with battery and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident when he was at a bar off-duty during a protest in July.
On July 5, Officer Matthew Willmann and his wife were at a bar on Old World Third when a black LGBTQ protest passed by.
Charging documents say this all started when Willmann's wife left the bar, started shouting at the protestors and threw her beer towards them. Willmann's attorney explains things differently.
Security cameras captured the moment Officer Willmann fell to the ground, part of an altercation that now has him facing up to a year behind bars.
Video showing off-duty MPD Matthew Willmann involved in an incident on Old World Third Street
"We were singled out and we were attacked, and someone needs to be held accountable for that," said LaTasha Lux, photographer. "I’m grateful that at least in this small way that’s happening."
Lux is one of two photographers mentioned in the criminal complaint. The document says Willmann struck Lux's camera, causing it to hit her in the face. Court documents say Willmann admitted to striking two different cameras to try and prevent them from taking photos of his wife.
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"I’m shooting and I’m shooting and I’m shooting," said Lux. "It didn’t really occur to me that in my viewfinder, this man has now turned and was approaching me, and then swung and hit me and then there was the impact."
Willmann's attorney has filed a motion to only have a signature bond in this case. The document says Willmann's wife left the bar to yell "Blue Lives Matter" because she was upset vulgar things were being yelled about the police. Willmann's attorney says he went out to protect his wife, and that while trying to go back to the bar, they were followed. His attorney says Willmann swatted Lux's camera because he believed it was about to be shoved in his face.
Lux says all the video speaks for itself.
"Whatever Officer Willmann and his attorney have created, whatever fiction they’ve created to try to cover his actions and try and reduce his accountability in the situation is not too much of a concern for me," said Lux.
Willmann is currently serving part of a 45-day suspension.
In a statement, the Milwaukee police department says it cannot comment on an ongoing criminal case but did confirm Willmann is a current employee and that he has not appealed his suspension.