Thanks to a hung jury and a forgiving prosecutor, a former Wisconsin police officer escaped a prison sentence and is now collecting $57,000 a year in disability due to the “stress” she suffered while on trial for shooting an unarmed man in the back.
It’s a sweet deal for the 30-year-old former Brown Deer police officer who expects to receive the tax-funded/tax-free payment for the rest of her life. It’s more than she ever made as a police officer.
All she had to do was claim she was unable to work due to debilitating stress she suffered from having been charged with felony aggravated battery even though her trial ended in a mistrial and the prosecutor chose not to retry the case, essentially giving her a free pass for shooting an unarmed man in the back.
Meanwhile, the man she shot, Manuel L. Burnley Jr, who spent 12 days in the hospital after the shooting, also says he is unable to work due to having a bullet lodged in his body as well as losing part of a lung. But his civil trial is not scheduled until next year so it will be a while before he sees any potential payout.
The incident took place in March 2016 after Burnley got into a verbal argument with a city bus driver over the cost of a transfer pass. The bus driver called Brown Deer police to eject him from the bus. Kraemer arrived with another cop and ordered him off the bus.
Burnley, 29, told the cops he would step off the bus as soon as he received a refund in his $3 bus fare. He said he had no other money to get home.
But the cops refused to entertain that idea and threatened with a $691 fine for disorderly conduct before grabbing his arms and forcing him off the bus.
Once off the bus, the cops would not let it go, insisting on forcing him to the ground and handcuffing him.
Kraemer testified she had to shoot him because she saw him reach for his waistband even though he never gave any indication he was armed. He was not punching or kicking the cops. He just wanted his refund so he could catch another bus home.
But she testified she feared him because of his size. He is 5′ 7″ and weighs 370 pounds. She also testified did not taser him because she already had her knee in his back and did not want to deescalate the force.
“It would have been considered a deescalation of my force to go from knee strikes down to the use of my taser,” she testified in front of a jury in February 2018. “We are trained in that you don’t even deescalate your force until you are in 100 percent control.”
According to her testimony, the levels of acceptable force in the eyes of her superiors go from tasering a suspect to kneeing him in the back to beating him with a baton to eventually just shooting and killing him.
However, she skipped the use of a baton and went directly to shooting him after the knee strikes because she was too tired.
“I discounted using my baton due to my level of exhaustion,” she testified. “I did not have the energy to now draw my baton, expand it and then begin striking him.”
Instead, she testified that “I chose deadly force.”
“I would describe it as auto-pilot based on my training,” she testified, explaining her decision to shoot Burnley in the back.
In other words, she admits she is incapable of using common sense and rationality in dealing with the situation and has no hesitation to take a man’s life just because she lacks the endurance to beat him first – even though there was little reason to even beat him once he was off the bus.
In other words, she is programmed to kill without ever taking into consideration other options.
And now that she proved to be an inept cop, she will be making $57,000 a year for the rest of her life. The money is coming from a state pension fund. It’s almost as if she won the cop lottery.
A 2013 investigation by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel revealed a pattern of Milwaukee cops receiving duty disability payments due to the stress of being investigated for misconduct while on-duty.
Watch the shortened video of her testimony above or the full video below followed by a news report showing video from the incident.