Eagle Nation Cycles lawsuit against Neenah, police dismissed
NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - A federal lawsuit against the City of Neenah and Neenah police over a standoff where a hostage died has been dismissed.
The lawsuit was filed by hostages at the Eagle Nation Cycles standoff in 2015. It was the third federal lawsuit involving Eagle Nation Cycles or the standoff that has been dismissed.
U.S. Judge William Griesbach ruled the detention of the hostages by police was reasonable due to the dangerousness of the situation.
He also said the officers were justified taking steps to verify who the suspect was and the hostages were.
Police mistakenly shot and killed hostage Michael Funk as Funk tried to escape.
Steve Erato, owner of Eagle Nation Cycles, provided this statement to Action 2 News: “It’s totally expected. We knew when our attorney asked Judge Griesbach to recuse himself and that didn’t happen, this would be the decision.”
A written statement from the City of Neenah said the judge made “the right decision” finding police acted reasonably under extreme circumstances and that officers have qualified immunity in using discretion to detain and question purported hostages in that situation.
“Of course the City is pleased with this decision, as we believe it again serves to vindicate the brave men and women who served as law enforcement officers for the citizens of Neenah that fateful day. Inasmuch as this was the last, pending action, we trust that this will finally close the chapter for the City and our Police Department in defending such suits for this unfortunate incident,” the statement reads, adding that the city spent more than $44,000 defending against this latest lawsuit.
The gunman who’d taken people in the motorcycle repair shop hostage, Brian Flatoff, was sentenced to 100 years in prison in May 2018.
The motorcycle shop closed in 2021.
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