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Community Debates Superior Officer's Use of Force

Updated: 01/23/2014 7:44 PM
Created: 01/23/2014 7:33 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

A recent use of force incident by a Superior police officer has prompted community-wide discussion.

The story brought a lot of comments in online. More than 400 on the WDIO Facebook page as of news time on Thursday.

Yvonne Beldon wrote, “The cop obviously forgot about his non-violent training on how to deal with people so no one gets hurt...It sure looks like the officer went overboard.”

Diana Roy wrote, “Some people need to learn when to shut up and back off! This would have never escalated if she had any respect for authority.”

The Superior Police Department said they were disabling Facebook posts on their page for the time being. They said some posts were inflammatory and inappropriate. You can still comment, but new posts are not being allowed on the page.

Video from a police dashboard camera shows Officer George Gothner's arrest of Natasha Lancour outside of Keyport Lounge on Jan. 5.

In his police report, Gothner wrote that Lancour struck and scratched him during the incident, and he responded with a closed fist punch to her face.

Lancour has been charged with a felony for battery of a peace officer. She said she was doing nothing wrong when Gothner went up to her and swore at her.

When Gothner took her to the squad for an arrest the altercation between them unfolded on camera. However, the two went out of the view of the camera and both Superior Police and Lancour's defense attorney hope witnesses will have additional footage.

The police department and Lancour's attorney said no new footage had emerged as of Thursday afternoon. Lancour's attorney has not filed any kind of complaint against Gothner.

Reviewing court records found that in 2004 Officer Gothner shot a man who was wielding a 6-foot long piece of wood.

The suspect had broken windows after smashing a microwave and television at his father's house in Superior. Gothner shot the suspect twice when the man approached a group of officers at the scene. The suspect survived.

Gothner was place on leave as part of standard procedure. He was cleared of wrongdoing during the investigation and returned to work.

The man who was shot later sued Gothner in civil court for unnecessary use of deadly force. The civil suit was later dismissed.

Gothner remains on duty after the Jan. 5 incident.

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