The Monona City Council is fulfilling its promise to have an outside agency investigate a June 2 police call that resulted in the detaining of a Black man after a neighbor reported him as a suspicious person.
On Monday, July 20, the council voted to hire The Riseling Group at a cost not to exceed $34,000.
Alder Molly Grupe said the contract and expenditure are not an overreaction by the City Council.
“We received an unprecedented number of inquiries about investigating independently this specific police incident,” she said. “It was a request made by our community, not driven as an ‘overreaction’ by the City Council.”
On June 2, a woman in the 5100 block of 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 unlocked. They knocked and announced their presence. Officers could hear someone talking inside, but nobody answered the door.
Following protocol, believing this was possibly a burglary, they entered the house with guns drawn. The man inside, Keonte Furdge, was handcuffed while police made phone calls and determined he was there with the knowledge of the renter, Toren Young.
The city contacted 19 individuals and firms to investigate the case and related police protocols; two submitted proposals. In addition to The Riseling Group, based in Madison, a proposal not to exceed $15,500 was received by Community Security Solutions in West Bend.
Staff with The Riseling Group will begin to review documents related to the case and conduct officer, staff and witness interviews. By the end of August, a verbal report to the mayor will be provided.
A draft report will be completed in September, and the final report will be delivered by the end of October.
The investigation will be led by Sue Riseling, retired chief of the UW-Madison Police Department. After retiring, she served as the executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Riseling has served on various state and international committees dealing with immigration, racial profiling, use of force incidents and other police reform measures.
She will be joined by Debra Hettrick and Deirdre Morgan.
Hettrick retired as an assistant chief with the UW-Madison Police Department. During her 20 years, she rose through the ranks of detective, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief.
Morgan retired in 2018 from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections after an 18-year career in which she served as a warden, as a regional chief within the Division of Juvenile Services, as an assistant administrator of Division of Management Services and deputy secretary.
At a rate of $175 per hour, it is estimated 32 hours will be needed to conclude the interviews relating to the incident itself. The review of documents, policies, video and audio is estimated at 100 hours. It is estimated that another 60 staff hours would be involved in the preparation of the report.