A Wisconsin police officer faces a felony charge for allegedly shooting and injuring an unarmed man in March after removing him from a bus, according to a criminal complaint issued Friday.
Brown Deer officer Devon Kraemer was charged with aggravated battery with use of a dangerous weapon, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Authorities allege that Kraemer shot 26-year-old Manuel Burnley while he was face down on the ground. Burnley is black, while the two officers involved are white.
Kraemer told officials she fired at Burnley because she feared for her safety and that of her partner, the document says. Burnley was hospitalized for nearly two weeks, lost part of a lung and the bullet remains inside him, according to his attorney.
The complaint says that a bus driver flagged down the officers because of an argument with Burnley. Kraemer and her partner, Michael Leeman, allegedly removed Burnley after he refused to leave the bus. With Burnley on his stomach, Kraemer said she struggled to take control of his arm, drew her gun and fired once into Burnley’s back, according to the complaint.
A document filed by Burnley’s attorney as a precursor to a civil suit says Burnley asked what had happened, and Leeman responded, “We just shot you” and used a racial slur.
An expert retained by prosecutors found that Kraemer’s use of deadly force wasn’t consistent with generally accepted use of force standards in Wisconsin or across the nation.
Brown Deer police Chief Michael Kass said in a statement that Kraemer was put on administrative leave with pay. She has five years’ experience with the Brown Deer police, while Leeman has two years with the department.
Kraemer, 27, faces up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Court records didn’t list a defense attorney for Kraemer, who didn’t immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press requesting comment.