Threats and a Suspicious Video: Greendale Police Silence Citizen Complaint

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman | sfreeman@vdlf.org | 414.469.9206
 
GREENDALE, WI – On Tuesday, June 6th, the Greendale Police Department posted a statement to their Facebook page saying Katherine Torres had withdrawn the complaint she filed last Friday. The statement also claimed that dash-cam video (seen here) shows that patrol officer involved Officer Karczewski did not ask Ms. Torres if she was a US Citizen (she is). The statement said the department routinely records the Social Security Numbers of motorists they stop. 
 
The video‘s audio is full of background noise, although the beginning of the encounter at about 1:00 on the Facebook video is surprisingly clear. At 2:10 the officer is heard asking for Ms. Torres’ Social Security Number. The audio then cuts out, and in the top and center of the frame the timestamp mysteriously hiccups and speeds up. Apart from this, much of the conversation between Officer Karczewski and Ms. Torres can’t be understood at all because of the static. There is also a moment where many minutes appear to have been cut from the video, perhaps while the officer was in his car. The video in no way disproves Ms. Torres’ allegations that the police asked if she was a US citizen (she is a US Citizen), and it proves they asked her for her Social Security number. 
 
“On Thursday I accompanied Ms. Torres to a meeting with Greendale Chief of Police Robert Malasuk,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “Chief Malasuk refused to allow me to accompany Ms. Torres into the meeting, and in front of me he told her that if she did not withdraw the complaint he would file criminal charges against her. He intimidated her. It is ridiculous that the Greendale Police Department collects people’s social security numbers for minor traffic infractions. Local law enforcement shouldn’t investigate immigration status and they shouldn’t intimidate community members who are using the proper channels stand up for their rights. We respect Ms. Torres’ decision to withdraw her complaint and not pursue the matter. People have the right to file a complaint and not be intimidated from doing so.”
 
“This has become a big issue and I no longer want to pursue it,” said Katherine Torres. “I appreciate the support from Voces but I am withdrawing from the media and police. Please respect my decision.”
 
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Voces de la Frontera is a national leader in the movement for immigrant and worker rights and and the largest grassroots Latinx membership organization in Wisconsin. Led by low-wage immigrant workers and students, Voces has organized some of the largest marches in the country, and works to protect and expand civil rights and workers’ rights through leadership development, community organizing and empowerment. Voces de la Frontera has chapters in Milwaukee, Racine, Madison, Green Bay/Fox Cities, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Waukesha, and Walworth County. Voces’  student arm is called Youth Empowered in the Struggle. Learn more at www.vdlf.org.
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