Monona Police Department

A formal complaint against officers with the Monona Police Department has been filed stemming from an incident Tuesday, June 2.

Police Chief Walter Ostrenga said a woman in the 5100 block Arrowhead Drive called the police at about 10:50 a.m. to report a suspicious person at her neighbor’s house. The previous resident had died, and the home had been vacant. The woman identified the man sitting in front of the house as African American, but that information was not conveyed to responding officers.

When officers arrived at the home they found the front door unsecured. They knocked and announced their presence, Ostrenga said.

Officers could hear someone talking inside, but nobody answered the door.

“Following protocol, believing this was possibly a burglary to a residence, they entered the house with guns drawn,” Ostrenga said. “Officers made contact with a 23-year-old black male and placed him in handcuffs while they investigated. The male subject explained he was renting the house from the son of the recently deceased owner.”

The chief said the homeowner’s son was contacted. He confirmed a friend of the detained man was the renter, but he knew the man who was detained.

Ostrenga said the handcuffs were removed, and officers apologized for the misunderstanding.

Shortly thereafter, the renter and man who was contacted by officers filed a formal compliant at the police department. Ostrenga said one of the officers involved met with them again and apologized.

“The Monona Police Department is committed to creating an environment of trust and empathy in all our interactions between the public and our peace officers,” Ostrenga said. “This complaint will be thoroughly investigated.”

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