Mayor Paul Soglin and Near East Side leaders offered drastically different responses Friday to the Marquette Neighborhood’s third officer-involved shooting since late 2012.
Michael William Schumacher, 41, of Fitchburg, died at a local hospital after being shot by a Madison police officer Thursday night outside a home in the 1300 block of Morrison Street, the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
Few other new details emerged about the investigation Friday. But neighborhood concerns over whether calls to Madison police would result in fatalities were met by the mayor’s call for education on how people should behave when dealing with law enforcement.
“Resistance is not an option,” Soglin said during a morning news conference.
Thursday’s officer-involved shooting comes less than two weeks after the high-profile arrest of 18-year-old Genele Laird, who was taken into custody by officers using physical force and a Taser after she resisted police following an incident at East Towne Mall.
Soglin said both incidents highlight a growing problem with compliance to police orders, and added that a dialogue about behavior is necessary.
“There are things going on in terms of building that trust. But it is a two-way street, and there’s got to be an understanding of this very basic principle, and that’s our responsibility as residents of this community,” Soglin said.
While Soglin focused on behavior, Ald. Marsha Rummel and county Sup. John Hendrick said the latest officer-involved death, combined with the fatal police shootings of Paul Heenan and Tony Robinson in 2012 and 2015, respectively, has drastically eroded the neighborhood’s trust in the Madison Police Department’s ability to handle crises.
“I hear from people that they’re afraid to call police — and not just in communities of color that may be afraid to call police — but in this neighborhood because maybe there’s an irrational fear that if I call police, somebody might die,” Rummel said.
Madison police procedures adhere to state guidelines that allow officers to use deadly force when there is danger of death or great bodily harm to the officer or another person. Rummel said state standards shouldn’t be the bar for Madison, especially when it comes to dealing with mentally ill people.
“In a way, it’s the minimum. Do we use the minimum standard or do we try to develop community standards that may exceed the minimum standard?” she said.
Still few details
Rummel and Hendrick gathered reporters just outside the scene of the shooting, where officials from the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation took over the investigation from Madison police and continued to comb the area around the home at 1303 Morrison St. using boats and drones throughout most of the day Friday.
You have free articles remaining.
State law requires officer-involved deaths be investigated by an outside agency. DCI did not release any further information about the investigation Friday.
Schumacher had no identification on him at the time of the shooting, making it difficult for police to determine who he was, Rummel said.
Madison police on Friday declined to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting, saying the officer’s name would be released by DCI.
Thursday’s fatal shooting occurred shortly after 9 p.m., when a neighbor called 911 to report that a man was chest-deep in Lake Monona and acting oddly, seemingly talking to himself and slapping the water.
Police said a witness observed the man break a window of a nearby home by throwing a rock. Residents also called 911 and fled the home after they heard the intruder smashing items inside the house.
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval told reporters that the first officer on the scene was waiting for backup when the intruder approached the doorway from inside the house with a four-pronged pitchfork. The man ignored multiple orders from the officer to stop, prompting the the officer to shoot the intruder, whom Koval described as “agressing.”
A blood stain could be seen just outside the front door Friday morning.
Rummel and Hendrick identified one of the residents of the home as Michael Falk, who could not be reached Friday.
Koval said other officers were present when the intruder was shot and that officers provided first aid before the man was taken to a hospital.
James Bellucci, 36, was in his second-floor apartment, about half a block away, when he heard three shots in quick succession. With the holiday weekend approaching, he initially thought the shots were fireworks, but realized it was something more when his girlfriend told him about a news alert.
“It’s sad,” Bellucci said. “I’m kind of on both sides. I empathize with the people. There’s been some overuse of excessive violence against our fellow people … and I share a little bit of that frustration with the general public.
“But if you identify yourself as a police officer, you give them every warning and they still come at you, do you get impaled by what they’re calling a pitchfork? It’s hard to balance.”
State Journal reporters Hayley Hansen and Ed Treleven contributed to this report.