No charges against Minneapolis police in Green Bay racial slurs case

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 8, 2013 - 9:37 PM

No charges will be filed in Green Bay, Wis., against two off-duty Minneapolis police officers who got into a street fight there earlier this summer and then used racial slurs while berating local police officers who showed up to investigate, according to the Green Bay Police Department.

The white officers allegedly fought with a group of black men outside a bar June 29 in downtown Green Bay after words were exchanged, but the black men left the area and were not named in the Green Bay police report on the incident.

Not knowing who the men were would make it difficult to file charges against the officers for assault, said Green Bay Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker. “We don’t know who the victim was,” he said.

The two officers, Brian Thole and Shawn Powell, could have been charged with a noncriminal offense of disorderly conduct for using racially charged language, said Decker. There’s no question the language was used: a video taken by a Green Bay squad car camera records either Thole or Powell or both using the n-word. Green Bay police officers also reported that one of the men told him that Green Bay was too “[racial expletive] friendly.”

Those charges would have been handled in the Green Bay municipal court. Decker said he didn’t know why disorderly conduct charges were not filed.

A spokesman for the Green Bay Police Department, Lt. Kevin Warych, said he could not comment on the case beyond confirming Thursday that no charges would be filed.

Thole and Powell were removed from the Minneapolis SWAT unit and placed on paid administrative leave after the Green Bay incident came to light. An internal affairs investigation of the incident continues in Minneapolis.

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