UNDATED (WSAU) Brown Deer Police are being second-guessed about their decision not to arrest Brookfield spa gunman Radcliffe Haughton in an armed standoff last year. Haughton killed his estranged wife and two other women, and wounded four others before killing himself last Sunday. The shootings followed numerous domestic abuse incidents in the last 11 years for which her husband was never criminally charged.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel questioned some national law enforcement experts who said Brown Deer Police ignored protocol by leaving a standoff last year without arresting Haughton. Three officers saw him pointing what appeared to be a rifle at his wife Zina. Officers set up a perimeter around the couple’s home. Haughton ignored orders to drop the weapon, and the officers later left without making an arrest. David Thomas of Johns Hopkins University told the Journal Sentinel it was unacceptable for the officers not to check out the apparent weapon. David Klinger, an expert on the use of police force at Missouri-Saint Louis, said the Brown Deer officers clearly had cause to arrest Haughton for a felony in what he called a “brazen, brazen attack.”
On Monday Brown Deer Police Chief Steve Rinzel issued a statement that the officers were not certain that Haughton had a rifle. But the department sought a felony charge that required the officers to believe he was armed. The D-A eventually filed a disorderly conduct charge, which was dropped when an officer went on vacation during the time he was supposed to testify.