Green Bay police officer pleads not guilty to charges from hitting suspect with squad car

Dashcam video shows Officer Matthew Knutson driving up a lawn and knocking down a suspect with his squad car
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 6:04 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2023 at 9:51 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay police officer entered a not-guilty plea to charges, including misconduct, Monday morning in Brown County court.

Officer Matthew Knutson is accused of using his squad car to knock down a man during an arrest.

Knutson, a 13-year veteran with the Green Bay Police Department, is charged with misconduct in public office, a felony, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor. The felony charge carries a maximum 3½ years in prison if convicted; the misdemeanor carries up to 9 months.

At his last court appearance, Knutson’s attorney asked the court to dismiss the charges, saying the criminal complaint isn’t sufficient to establish probable cause. The court denied that motion.

As we first alerted you in April, court records said Knutson drove his squad car up the lawn of an apartment building and knocking down a man who ran away from a traffic stop in November 2021. The criminal complaint says there were discrepancies between Knutson’s report of the incident and his car’s dashcam footage.

Knutson’s attorney argued in his motion that Knutson gave a report to his superiors to the best of his memory but officers can’t perfectly recall every millisecond in a fast-moving situation.

The police department was made aware of concerns about the arrest by the Brown County District Attorney’s office last October, almost a year later. Police Chief Chris Davis requested an independent investigation by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Knutson has been on administrative leave since October 22 which is standard protocol.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reported on Officer Knutson. He was part of a harassment investigation in 2018 and was suspended for 30 days after that incident.