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Annie’s Campground owner sues deputies over her arrest after chase

Annie Retzlaff is accused of evading officers and avoiding court hearings
Ann Retzlaff court appearance
Ann Retzlaff court appearance
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:39 PM CDT
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - A Shawano County judge reduced bond for Ann Retzlaff from $25,000 to $15,000 at a hearing Thursday.

Retzlaff, the owner of Annie’s Campground in Gresham, is charged with eluding an officer, recklessly endangering safety, and resisting/obstructing for a six-mile chase in Shawano and Menominee counties, during which prosecutors say she almost hit two deputies. Authorities say deputies were trying to pull her over for failing to stop at a stop light.

This week, Retzlaff filed federal lawsuits against a deputy with the Menominee County Sheriff’s Department and another deputy with the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on May 16. Both suits accuse the deputies of 12 federal crimes, including “Conspiracy for Cover Up of Human Trafficking,” “Violation of Freedom to Travel” “Kidnapping,” “Police Brutality,” “Assault with a Deadly Weapon,” “Assault and Battery” “Personal Property Damage,” and “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.” She also says her Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights were violated.

According to the lawsuits, Retzlaff says she was responding to a call from an employee of her campground to pick her up because she was being trafficked in Menominee County. Retzlaff says when she got close to the house, “plaintiff [Retzlaff] was stopped by Menominee County Sheriff’s Department as plaintiff got too close to the trafficking that the Deputies were involved in.”

Retzlaff goes on to say she “did nothing wrong” but “Deputies made up a bogus charge” that she disregarded a “traffic sign/signal that didn’t exist.” She says “Plaintiff feared for their life” and she suffered bodily injury and damage to her truck. She asks for a trial by jury and any monetary award determined by the jury. She said she was speaking to a 911 emergency dispatcher throughout the chase.

Separately, Retzlaff filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York accusing Heartland Financial USA and Bank First of converting her campground mortgage into stocks and bonds, “rendering my original contract null and void.” She accuses the companies of banking and securities exchange fraud. She says the “financial burden has caused the plaintiff undue hardship and failure to capitalize on her true profits.”

In that lawsuit, she requests a jury trial and is seeking damages including reimbursement of all interest and principal payments, compound interest on the total mortgage payments and interest paid retroactively to the mortgage date in 2010.

Retzlaff was arrested in Shawano County 52 weeks ago. A criminal complaint says on May 15, 2021, a Shawano County deputy joined the Menominee County Sheriff’s Office in the pursuit of a vehicle when it crossed into Shawano County on Highway 47. Four squads were involved in the pursuit. Retzlaff drove over two sets of stop spikes but continued driving on four flattening tires until she stopped on Highway 29.

When she was ordered to get out of her truck, Retzlaff said she did nothing wrong, and claimed she was a “sovereign citizen” who was not obligated to get out. When officers tried to jimmy the passenger door open, Retzlaff drove off.

She was stopped again at a roadblock. This time, a lieutenant broke the driver’s window with his baton and Retzlaff was handcuffed and arrested. She was treated at a hospital for cuts from the broken glass.

Retzlaff avoided court hearings for months. She had bench warrants issued for her arrest in October and again in November.

In late November, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to show up for another hearing. The day before, she emailed officials saying she didn’t intend to appear in court due to fear of COVID-19, despite being vocally anti-mask and questioning COVID protocols at her campground. She also said weather changes were causing injuries she suffered while on active duty in the Army to flare up.

Earlier this year, Retzlaff filed documents saying she was filing a “common law” lawsuit against Shawano County Judge William Kussell, District Attorney Gregory Parker, and Shawano County Corporation Counsel Larenda Maulsen. The document was signed by a notary in Florida in January.

Judge Kussell recused himself from Retlzaff’s case, which is now being overseen by a judge from Marathon County.

To date, Action 2 News has not been able to find official filings of a lawsuit in state or federal court documents against these county officials.

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