Two Milwaukee police officers have resigned amid an internal investigation over their treatment of a homeless man.
Eric Ratzmann and Eric Fjeld both quit the Milwaukee Police Department on August 5 – six weeks after they were caught on bodycam punching the man – who has not been publicly identified.
‘Both members resigned in lieu of termination,’ a police spokeswoman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday.
According to an official statement ‘Fjeld was discharged for violating the Department’s Code of Conduct core values Competence, Courage and Integrity’ while ‘Ratzmann was discharged for violating core values Competence and Respect.’
Both officers submitted resignation documents prior to being terminated.
Eric Ratzmann (left) and Eric Fjeld (right) both resigned from the Milwaukee Police Department amid an internal investigation over their treatment of a homeless man
The violations occurred on June 30, Officers Ratzmann and Fjeld were called to a restaurant on Milwaukee’s southwest side after witnesses reported that the homeless man was assaulting another male outside the premises.
While en route to the restaurant, the two cops spotted the alleged perpetrator and pulled over to handcuff him.
Bodycam footage shows the homeless man spit on Ratzmann who, in turn, grabs the man by the hair and forces him into the back of the patrol car.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Officers Ratzmann and Fjeld then headed to the restaurant where they interviewed employees and the male who had allegedly been assaulted.
The alleged victim claimed the homeless man stole his cigarettes before physically assaulting him.
The two cops considered possibly charging the homeless man for robbery, but instead decided to cite him and take him to a shelter in the downtown area.
However, when they later arrived at the shelter, the man refused to get out of the patrol car and spat at Fjeld.
Fjeld is seen handcuffing the homeless man in footage recorded on Officer Ratzmann’s body camera
Fjeld retaliated by punching him, and the officers then decided to drive the homeless man to a random location miles from where he was picked up.
Bodycam footage recorded the officers saying: ‘We’ll go a little bit more north’.
After arriving in Milwaukee’s north side, the cops took the handcuffs off the man – who subsequently spat once more in Ratzmann’s face.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘The officer cursed and lunged at the man, grabbing the man’s hair and slamming his head into the squad’s partition as he shoved the man into the backseat. … He twisted the man’s arm behind his back.’
The homeless man was pushed down by the head inside the patrol car, before his hair was pulled back
‘I can hold you like this forever, you hear me?’ Ratzmann reportedly said.
One eyewitness reported what she saw to police, who then retrieved the officers’ body cameras later that day.
The Internal Affairs commenced an investigation the following day, and immediately flagged that Ratzmann and Fjeld had acted outside Department Rules.
‘They had did not notify a supervisor about their use of force, nor did they act with fairness, self-control and tolerance,’ the report – obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – stated.
While Ratzmann and Fjeld will not face charges over the incident because ‘their conduct of was not a use of force that rose to the level of criminal behavior’, their actions were grounds for dismissal.
Both officers had been reported for their conduct on previous occassions.
In 2011, Fjeld was suspended alongside a larger group of officers for ‘failing to fully investigate a hit-and-run crash that killed a veteran’.
Officer Ratzmann is pictured in a social media snap. In 2012, Ratzmann was investigated after a cellphone video showed him pulling a suspected drunken driver from a car and physically hitting him
In 2012, Ratzmann was investigated after a cellphone video showed him pulling a suspected drunken driver from a car and physically hitting him. He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing.
Acting Police Chief Michael Brunson hit out at the two officers after their resignation.
He made supervisors show their cops the bodycam video showing Ratzmann and Fjeld’s conduct.
‘If anyone engages in the type of behavior that you will see displayed on this video, you will be separated from the Milwaukee Police Department,’ he stated.
‘There is no place for individuals who treat people like this in our city,’