Two now-former Milwaukee police officers have resigned following the emergence of body camera footage showing them harassing a handcuffed man.
Officers Eric Ratzmann and Eric Fields were searching for a robbery suspect on June 30, WTMJ-TV reported. The pair approached and proceeded to arrest a man who was walking along the street, the station continued.
Body camera footage obtained by the station shows the suspect ask why he is being handcuffed. Ratzmann then claims he saw the man steal money, according to the video.
“Taking money from the old man?” he says as he kneels on top of the suspect. “I saw you do it.”
The suspect then appears to spit at Ratzmann while in the back of the police car, the video shows.
Ratzmann responds, “You just spit at me m***********! You m***********! You’re dead,” according to the footage obtained by WTMJ-TV.
The officer then repeatedly threatens the suspect, claiming “it’s all over for you,” and “we are going on a long ride dude, I can tell you that,” the film captures.
After a bystander documented the incident and later complained to the Milwaukee Police Department, officials conducted an internal investigation, WTMJ-TV said.
Following an internal investigation, Ratzmann faces five internal affairs charges, while Fields faces four — including lying on a police report, the station continued.
Both officers have since resigned, WTMJ-TV said, maintaining their accrued vacation, sick leave and pension.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Officers Eventually Let the Suspect Go in an ‘Unfamiliar’ Neighborhood, According to Local Media
After the suspect spit at Ratzmann, the officers wrote him a ticket before proceeding to drive him to the Rescue Mission, WTMJ-TV reported.
The body camera footage then shows the man outside of the squad car refusing to pick up his ticket — seemingly after he either threw it on the ground or dropped it.
Ratzmann and Fields then decide to arrest the man again and are met with another attempt to spit on them, the video shows.
The two officers eventually release the man “in a neighborhood he was unfamiliar with,” WTMJ-TV reported.
“You better not talk s*** about BLM over here,” Ratzmann is heard threatening in the video.
This Isn’t Ratzmann’s First Run-in With Controversy
Ratzmann faced a civil rights case brought against him in March 2018 by a man who claimed that the former officer “struck him in the head for no reason” during an arrest, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jeffrey R. Strasser was taking a “drunken spin in a friend’s Lamborghini” in April 2012 when he was arrested by Milwaukee police, the newspaper reported. Authorities said they believed the 45-year-old was fleeing and resisting arrest, the Journal Sentinel continued.
Cellphone footage of the arrest shows Ratzmann “pounding Strasser while he was prone on the ground,” the outlet said.
Strasser expressed in his lawsuit that he was unfamiliar with the mechanics of his friend’s sports car and therefore unable to operate it as quickly as officers demanded.
Ratzmann’s force was found reasonable after a tumultuous two-day trial, the newspaper reported.