Delavan police officer charged with misdemeanor obstruction
Aaron Myers, 32, of Fort Atkinson faces up to nine months in jail for misleading police while they were trying to locate a man suspected of headbutting another man outside a Whitewater restaurant, according to the criminal complaint.
Myers is free on a $2,000 signature bond. Delavan Police Chief Tim O'Neill said his department received the report Monday and will conduct its own investigation before making any decisions on Myers' status with the department.
Alexander Kritz told Whitewater police on May 11 he began arguing with a man later identified as Michael Stanke outside Topper's Pizza. Stanke approached Kritz as if to shake his hand before headbutting him, chipping three of his teeth, according to the complaint.
Police later obtained surveillance video that showed Stanke, 30, of Caledonia walk into the restaurant with Myers around the time Kritz said he was attacked. The two appeared to be laughing and talking with one another, police said.
Another image 19 minutes later showed Myers walk back into the restaurant, apparently wearing the same shirt Stanke was wearing in the first clip, according to the complaint.
A witness was able to give police the license plate number of Myers' car. While questioned, Myers identified himself as a police officer and told investigators he went to the restaurant alone to pick up a pizza.
Whitewater police told Myers they saw the security video and questioned him about switching shirts. Myers said he didn't know Stanke's name and claimed the shirt was his.
Myers then told police, "I'll be honest with you. I don't want to (be) jammed up. Yeah, I bent the truth a little bit with you. I'm sorry
"I apologize cop-to-cop. I don't want an obstruction ticket."
Myers also admitted to changing shirts with Stanke, but said he wasn't told why they were doing it, according to the complaint.
The next day, Myers called Whitewater police and said he found Stanke's identity by using Facebook.
Police didn't question Stanke until nearly three weeks later. He admitted "bumping heads" with Kritz, and said he switched shirts with Myers because he thought Kritz and his friends would try to come after him.
Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ was brought in as special prosecutor against Stanke, who faces a felony battery charge, and Myers. Special prosecutors are typical when the defendant is a public official or works in a capacity that could create a conflict with the district attorney.
O'Neill said a decision on Myers' status could be made in the next two weeks.
Myers is scheduled for a status hearing Nov. 8.