GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The family of a man shot and killed by Green Bay Police three years ago have filed a federal civil rights complaint against the City of Green Bay and members of the Green Bay Police Department.
On February 24, 2015, police were called to Joseph Biegert's apartment on Plymouth Lane after his mother, Toni Biegert, asked officers to check on his welfare. Joseph Biegert, according to the complaint, had previous contact with police with "documented reports of his mental illness and passive nature."
Officers say Biegert became erratic, grabbed a knife and stabbed an officer three times in the arm, leading officers Matthew Dunn and Brian Krueger to shoot Biegert to stop the threat.
The District Attorney later ruled the shooting was justified.
The complaint states Biegert began to resist the officers when they started to frisk him for weapons.
It says neither officer had any formal training in assessing mental health disorders, and were not qualified to make decisions about detaining him.
The complaint also says Officer Dunn lied to state investigators after the shooting about previous contact with Biegert.
Also named in the complaint, besides the two responding officers, are the City of Green Bay, then-Police Chief Tom Molitor and "John Doe police officers #1-10".
The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and the recovery of other costs.
On the third anniversary of the shooting, Biegert's family said this lawsuit would be forthcoming.
"We should not be afraid to call our local police departments and ask them to please do a welfare check on our loved ones," said Toni Biegert, Joseph's mother.
"That just because someone is depressed or has anxiety or panic attacks, doesn't mean they are violent and how to handle a person with calmness, professionalism, kindness, so if there is going to be any difficulty, it will be a peaceful situation," said Walter Stern, the family's attorney.
As we've been reporting the last few years, Green Bay Police have taken many measures to respond appropriately to mental health calls; and two officers were recently honored for their specialty work in the area.