A Wisconsin police chief says a dashcam video appears to show that officers who fatally shot an armed hostage in December gave no warning before they fired outside a motorcycle shop.
Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson commented Thursday on the video, which was obtained and published online by the USA Today Network. It appears to show Michael Funk wasn’t warned he’d be shot Dec. 5 as he ran from Eagle Nation Cycles shop, where hostages were being held.
Neenah police had said shortly after the shooting that Funk, 50, ignored orders to drop his gun. Wilkinson told The Associated Press that the initial information about Funk ignoring orders was from early interviews with witnesses, who may have been mistaken about when the commands were given, if in fact they were.
“From the video, it appears no warning was given,” Wilkinson said of the nearly 5-minute dashcam footage. Wilkinson said it was possible a warning was given but not heard by Funk.
Funk and two other men were held hostage at the bike shop in a dispute over a motorcycle. The video shows Funk escaping out the back door of the shop into an alley, falling or diving to the ground and taking cover behind a pickup truck, gun drawn, before moving away from it and coming under police gunfire.
Neenah police have said one or more officers opened fire on Funk and that the gunman inside also may have shot at him. Funk’s wife, attorney and longtime business partner have all said he was a hostage who shouldn’t have been killed. His widow, Theresa Mason-Funk, filed a $3.5 million claim in March against the City of Neenah and three police officers.
The fatal shooting remains under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, as required by a state law.
The man who authorities say took hostages, 46-year-old Brian Flatoff of Stevens Point, is charged with 11 felonies, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide. A police officer was injured after a bullet bounced off his helmet.
The three officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting and returned to desk duty later that month. Neenah is about 100 miles north of Milwaukee.