Brunner undecided on Janesville City Council position

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011
— City council president and former Police Chief George Brunner said Monday he had not made a final decision about his position on the council.

Police arrested Brunner at 11:30 p.m. Friday at his home at 2423 Stonefield Lane in Janesville on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer. Brunner’s daughter, Barbara Rutherford, 41, of Beloit also was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

On Friday from the back of a squad car, Brunner said he would resign from the council, according to police reports.

Police were called to help Rock County Child Protective Services workers who were investigating the living conditions of a 1-month-old child. The child’s name and the child’s mother’s name were redacted from police reports to protect the baby’s identity. The reports do not state whether or how the woman and child are related to Brunner.

Police were asked to separate family members while CPS workers investigated. When the family members could not agree to temporarily place the baby with family, CPS took custody of the child.

At that point, tempers boiled over.

As police escorted a CPS worker out of the home with the baby, Brunner knocked a lamp off a table. Rutherford threw a set of keys across the room, according to the reports.

Then Brunner charged into Lt. Keith Lawver hard enough to make the secured screen door pop open. He hit Lawver’s chest and arms with the sides of his fists, according to the reports.

When police detained Brunner, he locked his arms and legs in an attempt to avoid being handcuffed and being led to the squad car, according to the reports.

If Brunner had hurt or injured Lawver, he could have been arrested on a felony charge of battery to a police officer rather than resisting. Lawver was not injured, Police Chief Dave Moore said.

Resisting is a misdemeanor charge.

Brunner read a statement Monday about support he got over the weekend from Janesville residents who want him to stay on the council.

“I believe I have some time to evaluate my situation and will make a decision in a timely manner,” Brunner said. “This is a difficult decision and an important decision not only for myself individually but for the city council.”

Brunner is the city council president. He was first elected in 2005. His current term started in April 2011 and would expire in April 2013.

If Brunner resigns, the council could appoint a person to fill the position until April. At that time, the remaining year of the term would be filled by election, City Clerk Jean Wulf said.

Last updated: 6:57 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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