Wis. lawmakers criticize cops in spa shooter case
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin legislators sent a letter to a suburban Milwaukee police chief accusing his department of allowing a man who fatally shot his wife and two others at a spa to elude accountability in his past run-ins with the agency.
The letter asks for an independent and transparent investigation of the Brown Deer Police Department's interactions with Radcliffe Haughton and the department's domestic violence policies and practices. Haughton opened fire on Oct. 21 at the Brookfield spa where his wife, Zina Haughton, worked before killing himself.
The letter, signed by 10 Democrats and two Republicans, accuses the department of not upholding Wisconsin's mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases on two occasions they think Radcliffe Haughton should have been arrested. The letter also criticizes Chief Steven Rinzel for blaming the victim, Haughton's wife, for not cooperating with police.
"Your department's duty to uphold the law should not, and does not, hinge on the actions of the victim," the letter reads. "You must stop implying that the victim was to blame for the failure of your department to make an arrest, and for the sake of other victims in Brown Deer and throughout Wisconsin you must correct your inaccurate and damaging statements," the letter read.
Lawmakers say the investigation is necessary due to the "lack of appropriate oversight" of the department by the village's police commission.
Messages left for Rinzel, Village Manager Russell Van Gompel and Village President Carl Krueger were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Court records show Haughton, 45, had terrorized his wife for years, including threatening to throw acid on her face, dousing her car with tomato juice and slashing her vehicle's tires.