Police, attorney seek witnesses to altercation
A local attorney and the Superior Police Department are looking for witnesses to an altercation between a police officer and a Superior woman Jan. 5. The incident took place in the parking lot between Keyport Liquor and Lounge and Super One Foods.
The altercation was between Superior Police Officer George Gothner and Natasha Nashai Lancour of Superior Attorney Rick Gondik, who represents Lancour, said his sole focus is to get the charges against her dropped and he thinks witnesses could hold the key. Lancour, 28, faces charges of battery of a peace officer and disorderly conduct in Douglas County Circuit Court stemming from the Jan. 5 altercation. The incident occurred after Superior police were called to the parking lot for a fight between Zachary Scott Lancour, 21, and James Robert Adkisson, 24.
Upon arriving at the scene, Gothner can be seen in the video going straight to Natasha Lancour, who was arguing with officers about the arrest. According to Superior Police reports: Gothner moved her away from other officers and told her to go. She started yelling about her brother being arrested, and he turned around and told her she was under arrest. As he was walking her to the squad, she started to resist.
During the struggle, Gothner stated Lancour reached up with her left hand and scratched him across the right side of his face. He punched her to get her to stop. She continued to try to pull away and take swings at the officer. The altercation ended with the Superior woman on the ground. She only stopped resisting, according to reports, when another officer threatened to use a Taser.
Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse said the incident is being evaluated by an independent police use of force expert.
“We expect to have a report of his findings within a week,” he said in an email response Thursday. Gothner, a 15-year veteran of the department, remains on active duty.
“Officers use physical force to counter physical resistance by persons being arrested. That is part of police work,” LaGesse wrote in his email. “Each use of force is reviewed for compliance with policy, training, and law. Complaints from citizens and their attorneys are very infrequent.”
At least one of witnesses being sought by Gondik and police appeared to be capturing video of the incident, including portions of the struggle between Gothner and Natasha Lancour that were not caught on the dashboard camera of Gothner’s squad.
Gondik questioned why officers didn’t get the names and phone numbers of the witnesses that night. “It is not standard procedure to gather the names of every witness to a fight outside a bar,”
LaGesse wrote. “The officers are witness to the fight.” Why are they seeking them now? “Mr. Gondik did state his desire to have us identify witnesses pictured in the video and we are actively seeking that information,” LaGesse wrote. “In part because of his communication with this department, and as a natural follow up to an incident of such gravity.”
Natasha Lancour has never been in trouble with the law, Gondik said, and she was the designated driver that night so she had not been drinking. If convicted of the charge, she faces up to six years of imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. With a felony conviction on her record, she would no longer be able to vote or possess firearms.
Zachary Lancour and Adkisson each received citations for fighting, according to online court records; Zachary Lancour pleaded no contest to the charge Jan. 15 and was ordered to pay a fine of $264. Adkisson is slated for an initial appearance Jan. 29. Natasha Lancour’s next court appearance is Jan. 31.
Anyone who saw what occurred during the Jan. 5 incident or who knows the identity of others who were present can contact Gondik at 715-395-3180 or the Superior Police Department at 715-395-7450.
To see the full video go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n69ClvDlgdE