Janesville25.1°

Edgerton Police Commission says it won’t discipline officer

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
October 22, 2011
— Edgerton police officer Brody Kapellen won’t be disciplined for his response to a tenancy dispute between two bar owners in June, the Edgerton Police Commission has decided.

In the wake of a complaint against the officer and a special hearing Tuesday, the commission has asked the city’s public safety committee to review the Edgerton Police Department’s policy on audio and video recording devices that the department’s officers carry on patrol.


In a written decision dated Thursday, the commission found a lack of “substantial evidence” that Kapellen violated city or police department policies when he responded June 30 to a dispute between businessman John Werkmeister and former Wile E’s bar owner Mike Whaley at Wile E’s bar at 12 W. Fulton St.


The decision came after the commission heard hours of witness testimony over a complaint against Kapellen by Edgerton resident Mark McCoy, a business colleague of Whaley.


McCoy alleged Kapellen forced Whaley to vacate Wile E’s at least two hours before his lease expired June 30, even as Whaley and a group of Whaley’s friends were attempting to remove property and vacate the bar.


McCoy claimed Kapellen blocked the door to the bar and yelled at Whaley and others to “get out” of the bar. McCoy alleged that Kapellen later lied in official reports in which Kapellen claimed he hadn’t told anyone to leave the bar.


Kapellen did not use his audio and video recording device during the bar dispute June 30, officials indicated. McCoy has asked the city to review police department rules that allow officers “discretion” over whether or not to use their recording devices.


In its written finding, the commission noted that “audio and video would have been of assistance … in dealing with this matter” and asked the public safety committee to “re-evaluate” the department’s rules on recording devices.


The commission’s decision found “no grounds upon which to impose discipline” on Kapellen, but it did not disclose whether the commission found any of McCoy’s allegations against Kapellen to be true.


Attorney Dave Moore, who presided over the hearing Tuesday, said Friday that the commission’s role was merely to decide if Kapellen had violated any policies.


He said as far as examining the truth of McCoy’s allegations, the commission “didn’t feel the need to reach those issues in their decision.”


Kapellen has said he was simply “keeping the peace” at Wile E’s on June 30 and maintains he didn’t tell anyone to leave.


Werkmeister had bought the former Wile E’s bar and was evicting Whaley so Werkmeister could open his own restaurant. Witnesses said tensions were running high between Werkmeister and Whaley because Whaley had begun removing fixtures from the bar while he was moving out.


Kapellen said he had an understanding that Whaley and Werkmeister agreed to a 10 p.m. move-out time June 30, which was two hours earlier than the terms of Whaley’s eviction notice.


Whaley said he agreed to those terms but only because he believed that if he didn’t he’d get arrested.



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