Target 2: No criminal charges in prison rat emoji investigation

WAUSHARA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Waushara County District Attorney has declined to file criminal charges in an incident involving staff at Redgranite Correctional Institution.

The case involved a former sergeant at the prison who placed rat next to names of inmates who were acting as confidential informants in a gang investigation. Inmates saw the "rat list" and started circulating the names and information.

Gang investigator Jason Wilke was also outed. He told Target 2 Investigates that his family received death threats and were in danger due to the leaks. The incident led him to take early retirement from the Department of Corrections after a 20-year career.

"It's utterly disgusting. There are members of the community, to include myself, who now have active threats on their lives due to his intentional misconduct," Wilke told Target 2.

CLICK HERE to hear more from Wilke about the case.

Wilke says recording devices were placed inside cells of inmates working as informants who knew they were being recorded. He says staff assigned to the area knew it, too. But a few days before the devices were set to activate, Wilke says informants' identities were suddenly revealed.

"Took a rat emoji and placed it next to each informant's name," Wilke said. "He actually put a rat emoji, equal sign, and 5."

Wilke says inmates saw that piece of paper, known as a range board, containing the names and cell location of each inmate in the housing unit, sitting on an officer's desk.

The sergeant who made the rat list received a one-day suspension.

Target 2 learned the Waushara County District Attorney agreed to review the case. The D.A. now tells us that there will be no criminal charges filed.

The D.A. says it was a Department of Corrections issue and any consequences would be handled in the department.

The DOC says the sergeant at the center of the case is resigning from the prison effective May 26.

The prison security director at the time of the incident retired in March.

An inmate whose identity was exposed on the rat list has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the prison's warden and staff.