DEFOREST (WKOW) – An attorney for embattled DeForest Police Chief Daniel Furseth says Furseth will fight the village board’s push to fire him.
Board members filed a complaint Wednesday with the village’s police commission urging Furseth’s termination. The complaint cites Furseth’s mocking of a group of African American men in a 2007 video; his posting of video to the department’s Facebook page of a naked suspect in mental health crisis; sharing video evidence from a criminal case of a domestic violence victim fleeing a man’s gun shots with people having no role in the case; and discouraging a female officer from filing a sexual harassment complaint by emphasizing the potential for retaliation.
Furseth’s attorney, Daniel Bach tells 27 News an investigation into the racially-biased video found it failed to influence department culture and was an isolated incident for Furseth. Bach says the Facebook post showed nothing inappropriate, and was intended to demonstrate how a potentially dangerous situation was diffused. He tells 27 News the evidence video was shared with appropriate people to display the capabilities of a certain type of surveillance camera.
"The claim…was not investigated further at that time by mutual decision of Dan and the female officer," Bach said of Furseth’s handling of the sexual harassment complaint. "The references to fear of retaliation were not reflected in complaints brought to Dan or by the general mood within the department."
The Village Board’s president says the complaint was handled by the department’s interim chief and the subject of the complaint was directed to take corrective steps, after Furseth was placed on administrative leave when the racially-biased video surfaced on YouTube.
"Dan has enjoyed a 30 year distinguished career which speaks more to his character and fitness for office," Bach said.
The Police Commission has yet to schedule consideration of the board’s complaint and termination request.