VILLAGE OF BROWN DEER, Wis. (AP) — An independent investigator will review how police handled domestic violence incidents involving a man who later fatally shot his wife and two other women at a suburban Milwaukee spa, the Village of Brown Deer said Friday.
Village Manager Russell Van Gompel said Brown Deer has hired Wisconsin law enforcement instructor Robert Willis to review the police department’s interactions with Radcliffe Haughton. Haughton opened fire on Oct. 21 at the Brookfield spa where his wife worked before killing himself.
The village near Milwaukee has told Willis “that he has no restraints on the scope or depth of his review,” Van Gompel said in a statement.
“We will fully cooperate with Mr. Willis’ review and will make all Village of Brown Deer personnel and records available to him,” Van Gompel said. The review’s findings and recommendations will be made public, he said.
Some Wisconsin lawmakers had sent a letter to Police Chief Steven Rinzel accusing the Brown Deer Police Department of allowing Haughton to elude accountability in his past run-ins with the agency.
The letter, signed by 10 Democrats and two Republicans, accused the department of not upholding Wisconsin’s mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases on two occasions they think Haughton should have been arrested. The letter also criticized Rinzel for blaming the victim, wife Zina Haughton, for not cooperating with police.
In a statement, the police department said it welcomes the review and will cooperate fully. The department’s said it won’t comment on the investigation until Willis completes it.
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.
Officers went to the Haughtons’ Brown Deer home 20 times over the past decade, including at least seven visits to investigate possible domestic violence, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported.
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