MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police are conducting an internal investigation after home surveillance video shows an officer turn the camera away from activity, after police entered the wrong home.
A police report obtained by the I-Team shows MPD received a 911 call about three men arguing near 12th Street and W. Finn Place after 1:30 a.m. last Friday morning. The caller told police two of the men had guns.
According to the report, when police arrived, one of the men took off southbound and an officer believed he saw the man enter a home.
“I heard a loud bang, like someone broke something,” Twan Versey said.
That loud bang wasn’t the suspect, but police. The situation turned chaotic: As Versey came downstairs to see what was going on, he says he saw more than a half dozen lights and guns pointed at him. His girlfriend followed shortly thereafter, equally as confused and scared.
“That’s when I started to panic,” Jackie Washington said. “My nephew, I see the bathroom is closed and I know he’s in there.”
Washington’s nephew, Keyon Davis-Washington, had been staying with them for a while now to try and get his severe diabetic condition under control. Davis-Washington says his condition makes it difficult for him to control his bowels.
Last Friday morning, he was in the bathroom, cleaning himself up after an accident. Completely naked, he heard the chaos going on outside of the bathroom.
“When I heard the door get kicked, I froze up,” Davis-Washington said. “I started shaking, really, really, really bad. I thought I was going to die. I literally feared for my life.”
Versey’s home has a surveillance camera positioned on the kitchen stove. It captures most of the living room and kitchen. It records in 20 second increments after something triggers it, like motion or sound. The video shows officers clearing the home, looking for the suspect; a closet in the living room, another room attached to the kitchen. However, when officers were working on getting Davis-Washington out of the bathroom, one officer notices the camera on the stove.
“He stepped to the side and as another officer was coming into the kitchen from the living room, you could hear him snap to him and let him know there was a camera in there,” Versey said.
In the video, you see the officer holster his weapon, and walk out of frame. Three distinct snaps are heard as two officers turn to see what’s going on. The officer coming from the living room walks up to the camera and turns it away from the actions of the officers.
“Why would you touch the camera?” Versey said. “If you came to do your job, why would you touch the camera? Why would you adjust the camera in the first place? You knew you were doing something wrong. You knew you were caught. That doesn't do anything but make the situation worse.”
What happened with Davis-Washington was not caught on the surveillance camera. He says officers ordered him to put his hands up, despite wearing only a towel.
“With half a towel wrapped on me and feces still on me, I come out of the restroom,” Davis-Washington said. “Instead of putting my hands up, I kind of put my hands to my hips. I’m like, sir, I can’t put my hands up. If I put my hands up, I’m going to be exposed and you’ll see everything.”
Davis-Washington says during all of the commotion, he left his phone in the bathroom purposefully. He says the actions of police killing unarmed Black men was all he was thinking about.
“I knew if I grabbed anything or had nothing in my hands, they’d probably think I had a gun in my hands and probably fire,” Davis-Washington said. “My first thought was, I don’t want to get shot. I’m trying to not get shot. Trying not to make the wrong move or anything because I know, if I did make the wrong move, I was going to be shot.”
“What really messed me up was when you turned that camera around and y’all had all the guns on my nephew,” Washington said. “Y’all were hoping this imaginary person y’all were chasing was in that bathroom and, all praise to the most high, my nephew did not walk out with that phone because he would have been dead. 20 years old. Dead.”
Davis-Washington walked backward out of the home, barefoot with only a towel on. Because police busted through the door, it broke a mirror along the wall. Davis-Washington walked through it on his way out of the home.
The Milwaukee Police Department wouldn’t comment about what happened, only saying, “The actions of our members related to this incident are the subject of an internal investigation.”
According to police accounts of the incident, MPD was “dispatched to a subject with gun complaint that occurred on August 6, 2021, at approximately 1:38 a.m., on the 1100 block of W. Finn Place. Upon arrival, officers observed an individual that matched the description of the subject with gun that was provided by the caller. Officers attempted to interview the subject; however, the individual fled on foot and a foot pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended when the officer suspected the suspect entered a residence on the 3500 block of N. 11th Street. Entry was made and the residence was cleared; however, the suspect was not located in the residence. Officers located a firearm outside in the vicinity of the residence. No further information is available at this time as this incident is under review.”
According to the incident report, police found a gun at the home next to Versey’s, in the backyard near a fence the suspect jumped over. The report also mistakenly lists the home police went into to be on a different street than Versey’s home. The report later makes a correction to clarify Versey’s address.
Versey questions whether the address change was a correction or a mistake from the start. He also questions police motive for entering his home. Versey says officers told him one of them heard the screen door of his house close and assumed it was the suspect.
"We can hear that screen door open and close," Washington said. "Even if I'm upstairs, we can hear when you're on the porch. We didn't hear anything."
The incident report mentions no shots were fired and no one was injured as a result of the three men arguing around the corner from his home. Versey says an officer, explaining why police entered his home, claimed they were looking for an active shooter and asked “did you hear any shots?”
“Someone needs to be disciplined,” Versey said. “Somebody’s not doing their job. These dudes need to be fired. They can’t keep doing all this.”
Since March of 2020, there have been at least four-high, profile-officer involved shootings across the country.
Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020 by Louisville Police Officers during a no-knock warrant. George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020 by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin after kneeling on his neck and back for more than nine minutes.
Jacob Blake was shot seven times by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey on Aug. 23, 2020. Blake survived, but was paralyzed from the waist down.
Daunte Wright was killed April 11, 2021 during a traffic stop when former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter mistakenly used her firearm instead of a taser while trying to arrest him.
Versey felt he or one of his family members were very close to being the next name on that list.
“We could have been the next one on the t-shirt,” Versey said. “We could have been the next one everybody is parading around with signs for. That could have been us next. Somebody would have had to call my family to say, 'hey, Twan been killed by police. Jackie shot by police.' That type of stuff.”
Washington also questions the tactics of police. She questions why they burst into the home if there was an active shooter.
“If there was someone up in here, they could have had us hostage or anything,” Washington said. “Y’all bust through the door to give them an easy way to kill us. You know the proper protocol to follow. They’re constantly doing what they want to do. You can not. You put innocent people in harm’s way. No.”
Eventually, one of the officers turned Versey’s surveillance camera back around. At this point, you can see officers begin to question what happened.
“He chased him in here,” one officer said.
“You’re 100 percent sure?” another officer said.
“Let’s check it again,” a third officer said.
“To me, the whole situation could have went left real quick,” Versey said. “Whether it was me, her or him. They could have thought I had a gun when I came downstairs. They could have thought she had something on her when she came downstairs. They could have thought he had something on him in the bathroom. Breonna Taylor is a perfect example. There is too much going on right now. They’re getting away with too much. I’m tired of it.”
The I-Team has requested all body camera footage of the incident and other information about what happened. Milwaukee Police say they will release it in accordance to public records policy and laws. Versey has also tried to request the body camera footage, though he was told it could take a year or two.