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Use of force investigation concludes after domestic abuse suspect dies during arrest

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Posted at 7:59 AM, Apr 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-02 08:59:28-04

WAUKESHA, Wisc. — A domestic abuse suspect who was reportedly having trouble breathing died after a physical confrontation with Waukesha police officers in September.

The Greenfield Police Department has since completed its investigation into the Sept. 14 incident.

According to the incident report, Waukesha Police Department officers were sent to assist the fire department with a medical call on the 1300 block of Ellis Street in Waukesha shortly after 1 a.m.

The fire department was initially dispatched to the scene after 58-year-old Paul Bruner's live-in girlfriend called saying he was having trouble breathing. The report says Bruner had an extensive medical history, including a heart murmur and emphysema.

When Bruner refused transport, the report says police were dispatched because his girlfriend said Bruner had kicked a paramedic the last time he was treated.

Upon arrival, officers also learned the patient, Bruner, had punched his girlfriend, according to the report.

When officers attempted to arrest Bruner for the domestic violence situation, he allegedly resisted and told officers to leave.

The report says officers entered the home and Bruner continued to ignore the officer's commands. He was allegedly in bed and covered with a blanket and officers could not see both his hands. When given commands to show his hands, he allegedly "ripped the blanket off and quickly jumped up."

The report states Bruner "maintained an aggressive, non-compliant demeanor. He was yelling, flailing his arms, and kept walking toward the officers. The officers continued to back up and felt he was going to strike them."

Bruner then eventually exited his home and began walking toward a parked truck. The report says he refused to stop and put his hands on his back. Bruner then allegedly "put his hands in his waistband area out of view of the officers" and that is when an officer used his taser.

Bruner then fell to the ground. As officers attempted to handcuff him, Bruner continued to resist and push against officers, the report says. An officer then "delivered several knee strikes to the abdominal area" and used his taser a second time. The report says Bruner continued to resist and an officer kicked him several times again. Still unable to take him into custody, the report says an officer fired a second taser cartridge and conducted a "drive stun" by pressing the taser onto Bruner's right shoulder.

The report says while resisting, Bruner "made several statements, including 'You're going to kill me! Stop you guys please, I'm gonna have a heart attack. I'm dying.'"

Once fully handcuffed, officers became concerned because Bruner's "combative demeanor ended so quickly."

He was immediately rolled over and found unresponsive. The report says CPR was initiated and fire personnel continued medical treatment. Bruner was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead by 6:30 a.m.

The three officers, whose experience ranges from one to four years of service, were placed on administrative leave, according to the department's policy.

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