The Calumet County Sheriff’s Department in Wisconsin is under scrutiny for a viral video that shows two of its deputies aggressively threatening a woman whose daughter was playing at the neighbor’s house and “running around barefoot.” (The barefoot comments can be seen in the longer version of the video here.) In the video, the deputies can be heard badgering a woman for allowing her daughter to play with neighbor children.
“Do you know we’re under a stay-at-home order right now?” says the male deputy. “I don’t need to explain that to you? Because I can if you need me to,” he says in a sarcastic tone before going on. “Your daughter is going to play at other people’s home and you’re allowing it… stop having your kid go by other people’s home.” After the verbal abuse part of the encounter, the female deputy tells the mother they’re building a record on her. You have to watch it yourself for the full effect.
Caught On Video: A pair of Wisconsin police officers on a crazed power trip show up at a woman’s home because she “violated a state order” by allowing her daughter to play at a neighbor’s house pic.twitter.com/JTtogvoE1X
— Darrin McBreen (@MediaRival) April 29, 2020
Amy Aries, the woman who took the video, explained to PJ Media that her daughter was at the babysitter’s house where she goes during work hours. Aries works as a property manager and home inspections are continuing through the lockdown. That makes Aries an essential worker, but as a single mom of four, she has to have childcare or she can’t work.
The Calumet Sheriff’s Office put out a strange and long-winded response on Facebook that included the sheriff’s history with Aries including a speeding ticket that seemed like an attempt to smear and discredit her.
There’s a video circulating on social media showing two of our deputies trying to talk to a female about her daughter being at a neighbor’s residence. What the video does not show you is that this is the fifth contact we’ve had with this female within the recent weeks.
It’s impossible to report everything we do on a daily basis or to reply to every comment or video made about us on social media. We are, however, a transparent agency and will always be open to sharing the facts.
The following are the rest of the facts to that video:
During the first two contacts, this female called our department (twice on the same day, within hours of each other) asking us to help find her runaway son. Both times, deputies found the son at the neighbor’s mobile home and sent him home. The third contact involved this female being stopped for speeding. The fourth time, a deputy was at the same neighbor’s mobile home again looking for a different runaway. The female’s young daughter was there and she was sent home.
Lastly, there was a recent disturbance at the neighbor’s mobile home and again the deputy found the female’s young daughter there and sent her home. This prompted the woman to come back and interfere while the deputy was trying to calm the disturbance at the neighbor’s mobile home. After calming the disturbance, the deputies then made contact with the female where she continued to argue with the deputies about sending her daughter home.
In summary, the same neighboring mobile home that this female wanted us to retrieve her son from on two separate occasions was the same mobile home she was allowing her daughter to be at.
Our deputies wear many “hats” on a daily basis, such as being an investigator, enforcer, peace maker, counselor, and even parent, to name a few. Our deputies have a tough job and sometimes they have to wear many “hats” during the same call. The above is just one example.
Most people are adhering to the Safer at Home order, and we have received very few complaints from the public. Our deputies are out there to help educate, not arrest, law abiding citizens.
Commenters found this statement puzzling on several fronts. For one, the deputies in the video appeared to not know Aries by name and badgered her for her name several times, indicating they were building a file on her for her non-cooperativeness. But the statement from the sheriff’s office details at least five events where they claim to have had contact with Aries recently. Wouldn’t they have had her name?
The other puzzling part about the statement was the inclusion of a speeding ticket issued to Aries, as if it were relevant to police harassment over unconstitutional edicts that should not be enforced. Then there was the revelation that Aries’s son had run away and the sheriff’s officers were called to help. Usually, calls involving minors are not disclosed to the public unless there are charges and even then the identity of the child would be redacted. But Aries’s story is public so the police knew they would be identifying a minor in this statement.
Another thing that had people scratching their heads was the repeated use of the phrase “mobile home” in the statement. Was the sheriff’s office intentionally pointing out that Aries lives in a poorer area to prejudice the public against her? Then there’s the over-the-top aggressive female deputy’s chastising Aries for allowing her daughter to play outside barefoot as if that’s some kind of parenting flaw and not a normal part of childhood.
Aries didn’t find the official statement or the actions of the deputies helpful or amusing. “As an essential worker and a single parent I am doing the best I can just like everybody else to make it through this pandemic,” she told PJ Media. “Unfortunately, I have had some circumstances where I needed law enforcement’s help, and when I turned to the very people who have taken an oath to serve and protect, I learned they are the ones who want me to fear them.” Aries referred to the recent situation with her son that required the sheriff’s intervention. Seeing her recent trauma used against her in the public statement about the deputies’ actions was shocking and upsetting to her. Aries knows her rights and is ready to defend them. “I will stand for my family’s rights and the rights of Americans,” she said.
Attorney General Barr put out a statement on Monday detailing that local governments need to be careful and not step on the constitutional rights of Americans at this time. He emphasized that the Constitution is not void in an emergency and that his office would pursue any government overreach. I think he should start in Wisconsin.
PJ Media reached out to the Calumet Sheriff’s Department for clarification on their statement but did not receive a response.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter
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