Attorney: Police ‘really muffed this’ in alleged State Street officer shooting

Police respond to State Street for officer shooting
WISC-TV/Channel3000.com

MADISON, Wis. — The man arrested after an alleged State Street shooting was dealt an unfair hand by police and news reports, his public defender said Wednesday.

Early Sunday morning, police and state investigators said an officer had been shot and that a suspect, Katoine Richardson, had been arrested with a gun in his possession.

But while court filings on Tuesday mention a Madison police sergeant hearing a gunshot, there’s no mention of an officer being shot–and Richardson was not charged with shooting an officer. Early Sunday morning, Madison police issued a release saying an officer had been shot for the first time in more than twenty years.

“The police department just didn’t give the information in total that should have been given out,” Stan Woodard told News 3 on Wednesday, Richardson’s attorney and a longtime public defender. “I think they really muffed this.”

Wednesday, state officials who are now investigating the incident remained silent to questions about who had shot the officer, how he had been shot, or whether a shot had ever been fired at all.

But Woodard says police failed his client in the days after the shooting–staying silent while an unclear press release led to some news reports incorrectly faulting Richardson for the shooting. (News 3 reported that the DOJ said an officer had been shot, and that a suspect had been arrested with a gun in their possession.)

“Why didn’t the police department personnel or those who are in a supervisory positions, why not the police chief himself–Someone–indicate that, ‘Wait a minute, we’re not saying this young man shot anyone, let alone one of our officers. We don’t have any proof of that.'” Woodard said in an interview Wednesday.

Katoine Richardson appeared in Dane County Court Tuesday on multiple charges, including possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting an officer and causing a soft tissue injury to the officer, and three counts of bail jumping for violating previous bond conditions.

‘Minding his own business’

Woodard said Sunday morning’s incident started with Richardson leaving work and sidetracking to State Street. He had a gun on him because he didn’t feel safe.

Woodard acknowledges he made a mistake by breaking his bail curfew conditions, but he was struggling with stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns of his own–and not bothering anybody.

When he saw police officers and knew what would happen next, Woodard said he fled–his gun showing–and he considered “suicide by cop”.

“Quite frankly, he wanted to die,” Woodard said. “He just felt like things are going so bad for him, he’s got these cases and he feels like some of them are not merit-worthy, and as a result of that he wanted to give up.”

It all started when Madison police sergeant Nathaniel Lujan was watching street cameras of State Street in his office early Sunday morning, according to court filings. He saw and recognized Woodard, looked him up on the court’s online records system, and saw he was violating his bail conditions of being at home after 10pm at night.

Sgt. Lujan and two other officers went to the scene, finding Richardson near Monday’s Bar. That’s when Richardson tried to run, and an officer identified by his initials “EM” in court records struggled with him. Richardson is charged with what happened next, causing a ‘soft tissue injury’ to an officer.

Court records say Sgt. Lujan heard a gun shot, but they make no mention of an officer being shot. In the struggle, Ofc. “EM” feels a “numbness” and ongoing “nerve pain” in his hip; he’s hospitalized later.

MPD’s Sunday morning press release said that after a struggle with a suspect, an officer had sustained gunshot wounds for the first time in more than twenty years. Investigators with the DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which investigates officer shootings, haven’t responded to questions yet about whether a shooting actually happened or who pulled a trigger.

But Woodard said his client, who saw his name “in the papers” as having shot a police officer.

“There’s nothing about him shooting someone, nothing at all,” Woodard said. “This man was devastated to read about himself in the paper. ‘I’ve been to jail and all the things I did,’ he said. ‘Mr. Woodard, I didn’t shoot anyone. I wanted to be shot, but I didn’t shoot anyone.'”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is continuing to investigate the incident.

A Dane County judge set Richardson’s bond at $15,000 cash. He remains in the Dane County Jail as of Tuesday evening.