Fearful Symmetries

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25 January, 2013

Flashback: The Drug War in Wisconsin

Radley Balko Raid of the Day today features Wisconsin. Unfortunately. The sad story of Scott Bryant, formerly of Dodge County before being given the Fred Hampton treatment by Wisconsin's finest.

Two weeks later, the same cops raided another home, again after claiming to have found marijuana residue in an outside trashcan. The second raid didn't produce a significant quantity drugs, either. But it did end with a tragedy.

Scott Bryant, 29, had a petty criminal history, but relatives said he had put all of that behind him after winning sole custody of his 8-year-old son Colten. It had been four years since his last arrest, and Bryant was working long hours as a tool and die maker to support his boy. He was also taking classes at a technical college, where faculty described him as "a straight-A student." Bryant's sister Shannon Halloff told the Wisconsin State Journal in 1995, "He's shown us the last few years what he's made of. He really turned his life around."

On the night of April 17th, Rohr, Neuman, Soblewski, and Hill gathered outside of Bryant's mobile home. Rohr would later say he knocked on the door before entering, but neighbors who were 100 feet from the trailer at the time said they heard no knock or announcement. Rohr kicked open the door, and he and Neuman went inside. Bryant was sleeping. Seconds later, Neuman shot Bryant flush in the chest. Bryant was unarmed. He died in his home as his son slept in the next room.

Neuman later told investigators he "couldn't remember" pulling the trigger. That was all he would say. Neuman was known in the department for making big drug busts that generated headlines. Sheriff Stephen Fitzgerald said the shooting was "tragic," and compared it to a hunting accident. The local district attorney determined that the shooting was "not in any way justified," put declined to press charges.
|| Palmer, 2:09 PM

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