Accident – Death – Obituary News : Attorneys are raising serious concerns about the actions of a Kenosha police officer, Officer Kevin Roepke, during an interaction with the grandmother of a child whose parents were mistakenly identified as suspects in a hit-and-run crash. Bodycam footage obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals a tense exchange between Roepke and the child’s family, particularly the child’s grandmother, Tekesisha Boyd.
In the footage, Roepke can be heard threatening to send the child to Child Protective Services (CPS) unless the family cooperates with him. When a family member tells Roepke not to talk to them and requests to speak to a sergeant, Roepke responds by saying, “Then you don’t get the child… It can go to (expletive) services.” He then walks away from the family and into the restaurant.
Kenosha Police spokesperson Leo Viola acknowledged that Roepke’s use of CPS as a threat was inappropriate but stated that it did not warrant an investigation or suspension. The incident occurred at an Applebee’s restaurant in Kenosha on July 20, where police mistakenly identified Jermelle English and Shanya Boyd as the hit-and-run suspects. The actual suspects were later found in the restaurant’s bathroom.
English, Boyd, and their 1-year-old son were forcefully arrested, and their child was taken from them. The incident gained national media attention, and charges were later filed against English and Boyd by Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley’s office based on other actions.
Boyd was charged with resisting an officer, disorderly conduct, and possession of marijuana, while English was charged with resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. A final pretrial hearing is scheduled for February.
The child was taken to a hospital as a precaution and evaluated by Child Protective Services, who then placed the child with a relative following a home visit. The family stated that the child was returned to them by 2 a.m.
Viola defended Roepke’s actions, stating that he was attempting to gather information from the family to pass along to CPS. However, attorney Nate Cade, who specializes in civil rights and employment claims, argued that Roepke should be suspended without pay for three days due to his unprofessional statements. Another attorney, Craig Mastantuono, expressed concerns about the officer’s threatening behavior and emphasized the need for de-escalation in such situations.
Emil Ovbiagele, an attorney who recently won a $2 million settlement for a man shot by Milwaukee police, acknowledged the volatile nature of the situation but stated that Roepke had the legal authority to temporarily place the child in CPS. However, he highlighted the importance of better handling the treatment of individuals and the sequence of events.
Viola assured the public that this incident was isolated for Roepke, who had no prior history of such behavior. However, it was reported that Roepke was previously suspended for five days without pay in 2021 for using excessive and unreasonable force, along with another officer.
Jermelle English is currently being represented by New York-based attorney Alex Spiro, who was hired by rapper and media mogul Jay-Z. Spiro described the situation as “troubling.” Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley did not provide an immediate comment on the matter.
Overall, attorneys are questioning the actions of Officer Roepke and calling for appropriate disciplinary measures to be taken. The incident highlights the need for proper training and de-escalation techniques for law enforcement officers in tense situations..