New complaint against DeForest police chief lists 4 new counts of misconduct, calls for discipline

New complaint against DeForest police chief lists 4 new counts of misconduct, calls for discipline
Via vi.deforest.wi.us

The formal complaint issued by the DeForest Village Board lists four new counts of misconduct against the chief of police.

Tuesday night, board members voted to file the complaint in a closed session in response to a video that surfaced online in which Police Chief Daniel Furseth can be heard making comments about a group of African-American men in May of 2015.

An investigation into Furseth did not find substantial racial bias in his behavior as chief, but did bring up other concerns. The Village Board said in a news release Wednesday that they are calling for discipline or termination against Furseth.

“While the Board did not pursue charges based solely on the results of the racial investigation, the
investigation did expose additional management concerns which were then separately investigated,” Village Board officials said in a press release.

The counts include failure to address employee misconduct, inappropriate public communications and misuse of tech resources, conduct detrimental to public confidence in the DeForest Police Department and improper disclosure of confidential information.

The complaint alleges that Furseth failed to investigate an employee despite multiple formal complaints reporting misconduct from both men and women. The nature of the reports could have been considered sexual harassment, according to the complaint.

“(Furseth) knew or should have known that the conduct alleged may constitute sexual harassment and/or gender-based discrimination,” the complaint said.

The complaint also lists multiple postings to the chief and department’s social media pages including posting squad car video of a man with mental illness running naked through a McDonald’s parking lot onto the DFPD Facebook page and inviting friends on Facebook to play “Subaru Poker.”

The last count listed in the complaint referred to Furseth’s alleged improper disclosure of confidential information. The complaint said Furseth was involved in distributing video of a domestic violence event in which a man shot his wife in the head and attempted to shoot her again, but his gun failed to discharge. The victim found out the video had been distributed beyond the police and district attorney’s office when a friend brought the video to her attention, according to the complaint.

“The victim became extremely upset that a video recording depicting her during a very traumatic event in her life was being publicly shared,” the complaint said.

Furseth will remain on paid leave until further notice.

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