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Off-duty Kenosha officer working as school security guard sued for kneeling on 12-year-old girl’s neck

Surveillance video appears to show a guard with a knee on the girl’s neck


An Illinois father has filed a federal lawsuit alleging an off-duty police officer working as a school security guard improperly restrained his 12-year-old daughter during a fight at a Wisconsin college last year. Jerrel Perez, the girl’s father – referred to as Jane Doe throughout the trial – alleges that Shawn Guetschow used excessive force and inflicted lasting injuries on his daughter.

In the lawsuit, which was filed Monday, Perez alleges that during the March 4, 2022 altercation at Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Guetschow used an unlawful chokehold to restrain the girl. Guetschow is also a Kenosha police officer but was off duty at the time of the incident, officials said.

Guetschow is accused in the lawsuit of pressing his right knee into the girl’s neck while simultaneously pushing his head into the floor of the cafeteria, placing his entire body weight against the girl’s neck and using unreasonable force to hold the child.

Perez alleges in the lawsuit that his daughter could not breathe while Guetschow’s knee was on her neck. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and still suffers from recurring headaches, according to the lawsuit.

School fight video
In this screenshot from surveillance video provided by the Kenosha Unified School District, an off-duty police officer escorts a 12-year-old student out of the school cafeteria after a lunchtime fight at Kenosha, Wis.


Wisconsin passed a law in 2021 banning police from using chokeholds except as a last resort, joining a host of other states that have passed similar laws following widespread protests over Floyd’s death.

Wisconsin law, however, provides no penalties for officers who employ chokeholds, leaving prosecutors to decide whether other charges such as assault or reckless endangerment might apply in such situations. Guetschow was not charged in the college incident, according to court records.

The Kenosha Police Department requires officers to follow its policy and procedures when making off-duty arrests. The lawsuit accuses the city of failing to train its officers to work as off-duty security guards and the school district of failing to train its security guards.

The girl, who moved to Kenosha in 2021, was described as a “respectful student” in her school records, according to court documents. Perez currently resides in Illinois.

On March 18, the Kenosha Unified School District released surveillance video of the incident, CBS Chicago reported. The video showed Guetschow trying to break up a fight between two girls. While trying to separate the girls, he falls to the ground with one of the girls. He ends up getting on top of her, holding her down with his hands, and resting his knee on her neck for 22 seconds, as seen in the video.

Prior to joining Kenosha Police, Guetschow was an officer with the Lake Geneva Police Department, where his performance in the field was described as “unacceptable” and he was described as “emotional, panicked or angry”, according to reports. court documents.

The city of Kenosha and police knew Guetschow had a reputation for having a hot temper, according to court documents.


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