UPDATE: 02/18/08: The City took the video down from its website today... We're attempting to find out why.
02/19/08: Here's the response we received from Sgt. Bernie Kupper, public information officer of the Racine Police Department:
The Chief (Kurt Wahlen) advised me yesterday morning that he had called the city webmaster to have it removed. The Chief is the one who requested that I have it placed on the website in the first place, and felt that he had the right to make the call as to how long it played out. I believe he felt that there had been adequate time for those with a sincere interest in reviewing it, to have seen it. I would also speculate that the Chief felt it wasn’t in the best interest of the community to continue to present that imagery, when at the same time, he is working hard to convince the NAACP and the community that it is time to move on.The city has cleared the officers involved in the Jan. 22 arrest of Bilal Gilleylen, rejecting charges of excessive use of force brought by members of the community. The city also has released video of the arrest, and posted it on the City of Racine's website, HERE.--
Gilleylen has been charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, attempting to disarm a peace officer and resisting an officer.
The press release from the Racine Police Department, issued by Sgt. Bernard Kupper, public information officer, said the department conducted a thorough internal review, interviewing all bystanders who came forward, and also gave the squad car's video tape an "objective review" by Robert Willis of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
The statement's key paragraph says:
("The) investigation indicates that Officers Stillman, Thillemann, and Principe acted within the standards of training prescribed by the State of Wisconsin, as well as within Department policy concerning the use of force."The video shows Gilleylen's car being pulled over on a dark night, at 8:15 p.m. It pulls to the right side of the snowy road, where it sits, engine running, for about two minutes. The squad car is behind it, with its lights flashing. A few people can be seen, barely, in the dark walking across the street to the left. Finally, at the 2:36 minute mark of the 4:33 minute video, two officers approach from the rear, one on each side of the car.
The officer at the driver's side talks to the driver (although no sound can be heard on the video). Movement can be seen inside the car. Then the second officer joins the first at the driver's side. Up to this point, the door has not been opened. Finally, at 3:08 of the video, the driver's door opens.
The struggle begins at 3:17, and both officers attempt to pull the driver out of the car. He is pulled out and falls to his knees, and briefly against his car, at 3:42. A third officer appears and the struggle continues on camera for about 15 seconds; at least one officer is seen striking the struggling driver. At 3:55 of the tape, the struggle goes out of view of the squad car camera, about 10 feet into the roadway but lit by the headlights of a squad car on the other side of the street. In about 30 seconds it's over; one officer comes back into the frame, and uses his portable radio.
The complete statement is as follows:
On January 22, 2008, officers initiated a traffic stop in the area of Hamilton and Summit at approximately 8:15PM. Shortly after the stop, officers were in a confrontation with the operator of the vehicle. That operator was later identified as Bilal Gilleylen. During the investigative portion of the stop, Mr. Gilleylen refused to comply with officers’ requests to show his hands.
Mr. Gilleylen did eventually present his drivers license and a plastic baggie from his pocket. Since the stop was made in a high crime area, and the plastic baggie was indicative of drugs, a request was made to Mr. Gilleylen to exit the vehicle. Mr. Gilleylen initially appeared to comply but prior to completely exiting the vehicle, he dove back into the vehicle towards the center console.
As a result of those actions, officers fearing for their safety, attempted to gain hands-on control of Mr. Gilleylen and forcibly remove him from the vehicle. At that point, Mr. Gilleylen aggressively resisted and it took all three officers to remove him from the vehicle. Mr. Gilleylen continued his aggressiveness towards the officers and refused to submit to their commands to go to the ground. At one point, Mr. Gilleylen began reaching for the gunbelt of one of the officers in an attempt to disarm him.
Officers reacted by applying stunning techniques that include both hand strikes and kicks, in an attempt to gain compliance. Eventually officers were able to get Mr. Gilleylen to the ground. He was handcuffed and transported to Wheaton Franciscan St Marys for treatment of a laceration to the head.
This whole incident took a period of time of less than 2 ½ minutes from the approach by officers to the vehicle, to the handcuffing being complete with Mr. Gilleylen under control. Within minutes after the incident was resolved, persons complained to the media about the actions of officers and concerns were made about the potential excessive use of force.
During interviews by the media with alleged witnesses and bystanders, claims were made that Mr. Gilleylen was doused with a bowl of blue liquid, as well as having been tazed while in the vehicle. It was also alleged that he was then handcuffed and beaten while being dragged from the car and across the roadway.
The Racine Police Department has completed a preliminary evaluation into the Use of Force as applied to Bilal Gilleylen on January 22, 2008.
The Department conducted interviews with all of the individuals that came forward as potential witnesses. During this department review, audio tapes of radio transmissions, video footage from all of the responding squads, as well as recorded media footage, were all examined.
Throughout the course of the internal review, there were disparities between alleged witness statements and the video footage from Officer Stillman’s vehicle. Video footage does not support any of the allegations to include the use of an unknown bowl of liquid, the beating that allegedly took anywhere from 10 minutes up to 1 hour, nor the tazing and handcuffing in the vehicle and subsequent beating while cuffed.
In addition to the internal review, the department contracted with Mr. Robert Willis of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to perform an objective review of the use of force.
Mr. Willis’ investigation indicates that Officers Stillman, Thillemann, and Principe acted within the standards of training prescribed by the State of Wisconsin, as well as within Department policy concerning the use of force.
At this time, video footage from the incident has been released to the public via the City of Racine Public website.
NOTE: The video still above has been slightly enhanced for clarity by RacinePost.com. The video itself, however, is exactly as released by the Racine Police Department.