The lawsuit against the City of Crandon and Forest County by the lone survivor and families of the victims of the 2007 Crandon shootings has been dismissed. A judge handed down that decision in Forest County Circuit Court last week.
In 2007, off-duty Forest County deputy and Crandon Police Officer Tyler Peterson shot and killed 6 people and wounded a seventh at a house party, before taking his life. In the lawsuit, the families were asking for damages and a change in the way prospective law enforcement officers are screened before being hired.
Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Mark Mangerson denied the claim, stating the City and County could not be held responsible for Peterson's actions. He says that it would not be possible to "require agencies to absolutely guarantee the mental health of all officers hired, as opposed to merely following the hiring guidelines already imposed by the legislature and the LESB."
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed Peterson's mental instability led to the shootings, and should have been recognized under Wisconsin's Law Enforcement Standards, specifically:
LES 2.01(1)(g) The applicant shall be free from any physical, emotional
or mental condition which might adversely affect performance of
duties as a law enforcement, tribal law enforcement, jail or secure
1. The applicant shall complete a personal medical history, a
copy of which is to be submitted to the examining physician.
2. The examination shall be by a Wisconsin licensed physician who shall provide a written report on the results of the
In his decision, Judge Mangerson states these guidelines were followed when Peterson was hired. "There is simply no test or screening process that can absolutely guarantee the mental health of an agency's law enforcement officers. The Plaintiffs' proposed interpretation of LES 2.01(1)(g) is therefore unreasonable", the decision reads. He later states, "Allowing these claims to proceed would place too high a burden on law enforcement agencies."