Two La Crosse police who shot and wounded a man who attacked them with a logging chain during a standoff will not be charged in court.
A state investigation into the shooting of Daniel Lexvold has cleared La Crosse County sheriff's deputy Brandon Stoughtenger and a La Crosse city officer Ryan DeFlorian.
The two officers used everything to try and get Lexvold to stop. Verbal commands. Tasers. Bean bag rounds from a shotgun. And Sayibe, Stoughtenger's K9. None of it worked, before they resorted to shooting the 37-year-old, as can be seen on video below.
County District Attorney Tim Gruenke says La Crosse has been fortunate not to have any recent cases where someone has died after being shot by an officer.
"Our cases have been a little bit different than what what you've heard from other jurisdictions, where people have been killed, that weren't armed and were shot multiple times and died," Gruenke said. "In both our situations there wasn't a death and the officers didn't shoot more than was needed to stop the threat."
The state investigation found the two police were justified because of Lexvold's behavior.
DeFlorian is back at work, after being on leave following the Dec. 30 shooting on Hwy. 16 in Medary. Stoughtenger should be back on duty soon.
Lexvold is being examined at a state hospital to see if he's mentally competent to be tried for attacking the officers.
VIDEO: The dash camera video has been released of the man who attacked police with a logging chain before being shot by two officers on Hwy. 16 just outside La Crosse.
Posted by City of La Crosse Police Department on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Daniel Lexvold, who was released Monday from the hospital and in court Tuesday on 14 criminal charges.
He's been charged with three counts of attempted battery to police officers, battery to a police K9, resisting arrest, criminal damage to property, along with a domestic related disorderly conduct that initially called the 37-year-old to police's attention. Lexvold also had seven counts of felony bail jumping on his record.
Lexvold has eight open cases in La Crosse County court, dating back to August of 2015, including four felony charges from 2016. In December, he pleaded not guilty to theft and bail jumping and is waiting to be tried. He's also charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and driving with a revoked license.
Police wrote this about the situation: "A delay due to the ongoing investigation and coordination with the multiple agencies involved, the La Crosse Sheriff’s Office and La Crosse Police Department are releasing squad video of the officer involved shooting that occurred on Hwy 16 on December 30. Below is an explanation and summary of the La Crosse Officer’s squad car video. The La Crosse Sheriff’s Office will be release video from their squads through their official channels today. The video can be difficult to follow once the suspect charges the officers, so here is an explanation of the video layout. The large video block is the camera facing out the front of Officer Deflorian’s squad car. The lower right block is from the camera facing out the passenger side, the middle bottom block is the camera facing out the rear of the squad and the bottom left box is the camera facing out the driver’s side of the squad car. Also, if you open the video to a full screen format on a PC it is going to pixilate your view some since this is a copy from a smaller electronic format. As the suspect charges the officers, you will have to look at the lower video boxes to follow the suspect. As you can see from the video, it shows the deployment of all the different force options that were listed in the previous press releases. The less lethal bean bag rounds are being delivered by Officer Deflorian through the shotgun. As the suspect charges, you will see Deputy Stoughtenger release his K9, which does get hit by the chain. You will also see another deputy come running in from the right to deploy a taser. After the suspect jumps on the hood of the squad with the chain, he will proceed around the back of the squad charging Officer Deflorian with Deputy Stoughtenger in pursuit. This is where you will have to look at the lower video boxes. In the lower boxes you will see the suspect proceed past the passenger side camera, past the rear viewing camera with the deputies in pursuit and then into view of the driver’s camera. As the suspect is charging around the rear of the squad, you see Officer Deflorian actually slips and falls (look at the lower left video box). Just as Officer Deflorian is getting up, the suspect charges around the driver’s rear bumper at which time you can hear gun fire as well as another attempted taser deployment. Note: You will hear the suspect use expletives during the course of the video."
UPDATE: We now know more about the domestic dispute that took place before Daniel Lexvold was shot by local law enforcement after charging them with a logging chain on the night of December 30.
Police say Lexvold was at a woman's house and invited another woman over. The homeowner disapproved and went to have a talk with the 37-year-old man about it, but he barricaded himself in a bedroom.
Instead of having the confrontation with the woman, Lexvold jumped out the second-story window. He didn't stick the landing - falling on his back - before leaving in his pickup.
The woman stated Lexvold had just lost his job, is bi-polar and was under the influence of meth that night. The rest of the story can be seen below.
HERE'S WHAT WAS IN THE ORIGINAL REPORT:
Around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 30, Lexvold was pulled over at N3075 Hwy. 16 in Medary over a domestic disturbance that was reported 40 minutes earlier.
Lexvold was, first, uncooperative with police, then charged officers while swinging a logging chain. He struck Sayibe the police dog, who attempted to bite the man, and he hit the windshield of a squad car with the chain, before charging officers, forcing two of them to open fire.
Upon pulling over the suspect because he fled the scene of an earlier domestic disturbance, Lexvold, first wouldn't exit his car, then did so in a fury, while swinging that chain.
After telling the La Crosse man to drop the chain multiple times, police used both bean bag rounds and tasers on him.
That only provoked Lexvold to charge officers. The suspect swung the chain, breaking a squad car windshield.
Deputy Brandon Stoughtenger released his K9 Sayibe on the man, who then hit the dog with the chain.
That's when both Stoughtenger and La Crosse police's Ryan Deflorian opened fire.
The report doesn't state where the suspect was shot. It only says he was treated by emergency medical services and taken to the hospital, where he stayed until Monday.
Stoughtenger, who's been on the force for 14 years, and Deflorian, who's been with La Crosse since June, have been put on paid administrative leave - as is company policy. Neither were injured. The report also says that Sayibe received veterinary care.
WHY THE DELAY IN RELEASING INFORMATION:
Information about the latest La Crosse police officer involved shooting has come out slower than the department itself would want, according to its assistant police chief.
It took a week for the information from last Friday's shooting to come out.
On WIZM Thursday afternoon, assistant chief Rob Abraham said the state office investigating the shooting is in charge of the pace of information released.
"We want to get the information out there," Abraham said. "We want the public to know. So, that does frustrate us sometimes but we have to respect the process and what they want.
A new law requires an outside investigation, which can take more time.
"There are measures in place, put in place by the state, mandating an investigation, so it's going to take longer," Abraham said.