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Body camera footage shows moments MPD Officer is shot

Posted: 6:50 PM, Jul 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-09 19:50:52-04

It was the first day of testimony in the trial for the man accused of shooting and killing a Milwaukee Police Officer in February.

Jordan Fricke is charged with four felonies in the death of Officer Matthew Rittner on Feb. 6.

Opening statements laid out the plans for both the prosecution and defense.

"Jordan Fricke was engaged in illegal activity," District Attorney John Chisholm said. "He made a decision to fire a weapon. A weapon designed for one purpose only; to take lives. It was designed to kill. He fired four rounds, technically through the door but not a closed door."

Chisholm lifted the alleged weapon used in the shooting; an AK-47 pistol. He explained to the jury how the police executed the search warrant, announcing themselves several times and with force, banging on the podium to explain how Officer Rittner used a battering ram to break through a door.

"He did know these were Milwaukee Police Officers," Chisholm said. "At 9:17 a.m., you have one Jordan Fricke with gangster posters all over his walls, wants to sell drugs, weapons. That's the guy who fired at Matt Rittner. That's the gangster wannabe. Then, there's the 9:18 a.m. Jordan Fricke. He's the one confronted by [Officer] Lane Grady. He knew the gig was up. That's when he falls to the ground, surrenders and says, 'I didn't know. I didn't know'."

Fricke's defense attorney Michael Chernin painted a different picture. He says, yes, Fricke owned guns legally but he had no reason to believe law enforcement would be entering his home in this way.

"No one would expect the police department to enter your home in such a violent fashion," Chernin said. "He doesn't know what's on the other side of the door. The state has what happened on one side of the door. On the other side, nothing but fear and Mr. Fricke had an absolute right to be fearful. It seemed as though he was under attack by an unknown source. It's not how you'd expect the police to conduct themselves. The evidence will show, [Fricke] was not engaged in an activity that he meant to kill Mr. Rittner or anyone else. What Mr. Fricke was doing was acting in self defense. Don't confuse his intent to protect himself with an intent to kill. He's trying to reasonably avoid force. The law, in self defense, allows him to do so."

Jurors had the opportunity to visit the scene where Officer Rittner was killed in the afternoon. It is a much different day than Feb. 6. The sun is shining with no sign of snow as the temperature is significantly warmer.

However, the jurors took a step back in time to see what things looked like the day of the shooting inside the home on S. 12th Street.

Cameras were not allowed inside during the scene visit but Judge Jeffrey Wagner explained what would happen before the jurors left.

"You will enter from the back," Wagner said. "You'll go along the pavement from the alley to the backdoor. I'll have you look at the upper windows as well as two bullet holes on the exterior of the residence. I want to lead you upstairs, leading to the upper unit. I'm going to point out two bullet holes to the rear of the residence from the landing to the upper unit door and damage in the wall from a bullet. We will go to the kitchen and I will direct you to look in the middle bedroom and front room. Look out the front windows, onto the porch and view of the street. I will ask you to come back into the kitchen and have each of you stand in the corner by the counter towards the rear door."

The view in the kitchen will give jurors an idea of what Jordan Fricke was seeing on the morning of Feb. 6.

After the visit, in open court, the prosecution showed a first hand look at what happened in the moments leading up to and after Officer Rittner was shot.

From the body camera of Officer Lane Grady, Rittner can be seen handling the one-man battering ram to try and gain entry into the Jordan Fricke's residence. He hits the door three times, creating a square hole. In the video, after the hole has been made, Officer Rittner appears to see something inside before turning to run away. Four shots ring out as Officer Rittner leaves the frame.

"After hearing the shots, the way Matt fell and he didn't make a sound, I believed he was hit," Grady said.

Grady appeared emotional as he recounted what he witnessed in February. After Rittner was hit, Grady continued on the mission, entering the doorway to find Fricke surrendering with his hands up.

"I didn't want anyone else to get hurt," Grady said. "I had to protect my teammates and get Matt out of there to get medical attention."

Just over two minutes from the time the Tactical Enforcement Unit arrived, Matthew Rittner had been shot.

Fricke can be seen in the body camera footage with his hands up as Officer Grady tells him to open the door.

"I thought you guys were somebody breaking in," Fricke yells. "I thought you were breaking in."