NewsLocal News


Jury selection begins in trial of Brown Deer Officer accused of shooting suspect

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 18:43:02-05

Jury selection began Monday afternoon in the trial of a Brown Deer Police officer accused of shooting an unarmed, unruly suspect in the back. 

Attorneys and the judge questioned a pool of 60 potential jurors about their prior knowledge of the case and whether they knew anybody involved, among other topics. 

28-year old Devon Kraemer is on trial for aggravated battery, use of a dangerous weapon, in connection with a shooting that injured Manuel Burnley Jr. on March 4, 2016. 

According to a criminal complaint, Burnley Jr. boarded an MCTS bus on Brown Deer Road and became argumentative after the driver told him about a change in policy related to bus transfers. 

The driver told investigators she continued along her route until she spotted a pair of Brown Deer Police squad cars parked near 60th and Brown Deer Road and pulled over. 

In a criminal complaint, investigators allege Kraemer and another officer boarded the bus and talked with Burnley Jr. The complaint alleges Burnley Jr. remained argumentative and refused to comply with instructions from police as he was escorted off the bus. 

Investigators said Burnley Jr. resisted as the two officers tried to handcuff him. A struggle ensued, in which Burnley Jr. and the two police officers all fell to the ground. 

According to the criminal complaint, Kraemer said she feared for her safety, as well as the safety of her partner, and could not see one of Burnley Jr.'s hands during the struggle. 

At some point, Kraemer fired a single round into Burnley Jr.'s back. He was injured and lost part of a lung. 

In the criminal complaint, investigators said an expert in defense dynamics, police defense, arrest tactics, and the use of force, reviewed police reports, surveillance video from the incident, and interviews with Kraemer, Burnley Jr. and the other officer. 

"It was (the expert's) professional opinion that Kraemer's use of deadly force was not consistent with generally accepted standards for the use of force in Wisconsin or nationwide," the complaint reads. 

Before attorneys began questioning potential jurors Monday, prosecutor Jim Griffin argued to the Judge that jurors should be able to ask witnesses in the case questions as they take the stand in the coming days.  

"If I'm on that jury and I'm one of the people who has to make a decision in this case, why wouldn't the court and the attorneys allow me to ask a question?" Griffin said. 

But Michael Steinle, Kraemer's defense attorney, said many of those questions will be deemed irrelevant. He said failing to answer them, even if the unanswered questions are inappropriate, could taint the jury's opinion of the trial. 

"There are a lot of reasons we can tell them about why we cannot answer a question," Steinle said. "But then (jurors) might feel like, 'Well, wait a minute. What are they trying to hide?'" 

Burnley Jr. was never charged in connection with the incident. 

Kraemer is currently on administrative suspension from the Brown Deer Police Department, according to Chief Michael Kass.