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Journalist-deputy run-in leads to discipline

By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio A Sawyer County sheriff's deputy was disciplined and ordered to get anger management counseling after an incident on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation last summer. At issue is a confrontation between News...

By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio

A Sawyer County sheriff's deputy was disciplined and ordered to get anger management counseling after an incident on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation last summer.

At issue is a confrontation between News from Indian Country Editor Paul DeMain and Sawyer County Deputy Brian Knapp.

DeMain was video recording the scene of a head-on car crash in August when Knapp confronted him, grabbed his camera and struck him in the shoulder with his flashlight. Investigating officer, Chief Deputy Tim Ziegle, said Knapp's report conflicts with DeMain's account.

"Mr. DeMain thought that either he was trying to take it away from him or break it," Ziegle said. "The officer informed me he was just trying to cover it up to hinder Mr. DeMain taking photographs. Whichever the case, the officer certainly could have handled it a different way and did not have the authority to cover up the recording device."

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Ziegle says the department is sending DeMain an apology.

That's not enough for DeMain.

"The question is: Does the Sawyer County Sheriff's Department want a law enforcement officer who I think would fabricate a police report in order to make sure the police report covers what he needs to protect his job," DeMain said. "I don't want that law enforcement officer out on the reservation dealing with my friends and relatives. I don't trust him."

The Sawyer County District Attorney declined DeMain's request to prosecute Knapp. DeMain says he has no plans to sue the Sawyer County Sheriff's Department.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICESAWYER COUNTY
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