DOJ: No criminal charges against officers involved in Scot Minard's death

Published: Jul. 26, 2016 at 8:05 AM CDT
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According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, no criminal charges will be filed against the officers involved in the death of Scot Minard, 50, of Eagle River. Back in July, Minard was fatally shot in Lincoln County after shooting at a police officer in Antigo, a high speed chase and a standoff. A special prosecutor said the use of force was justified and that the officers were protecting themselves.

In the DOJ's report, an analysis of Minard's blood found a number of substances including alcohol, cocaine, hydrocodone, THC, amphetamine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and opiates.

Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger said his employees Sgt. Investigator Brian Kingsley, with 24 years experience; and Sgt. Investigator Randy Ruleau II with 9 years were at the scene was Scott Minard, 50 was fatally shot for failing to comply with deputies orders. Langlade County deputy, Tom Connelly, was also at the scene and had been with the department for six months.

Minard was initially stopped in Antigo for false registration. There, he's accused of firing two shots out his vehicle window in the direction of officer Joseph Husnick. Husnick was not struck and was placed on paid leave.

"Within a short amount of time, the driver stuck a gun out the window and fired two rounds back at my officer as he was getting out of his patrol vehicle," explained Chief Roller of the incident.

Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller said Minard left Antigo in his vehicle and lead deputies on a high speed chase. Minard was eventually stopped by spike strips on Hillview Road near Highway 64 and Highway 17 in Merrill.

Minard exited his vehicle and took cover with his firearm, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger.

Minard remained armed during an hour long stand-off. Sheriff Jaeger said the responding officers did their best to resolve the incident without violence.

“We had some dialogue with him to try to surrender, ultimately that failed and unfortunately the individual was fatally injured by officers,” said Sheriff Jaeger. An autopsy will be conducted in Madison.

Lincoln County led the response, but Marathon County assisted by sending the SWAT team and other resources to the scene.

Larry Wolf lives nearby and heard the shots.

"I heard shots... three or four fired and about seven from what sounded like an A-R. And, the loudspeaker said, 'This is the Marathon County Police. Come out with your hands up'. That's all I heard, after that we saw an ambulance come in," he explained.

Roller told NewsChannel 7 that the officer Husnick is holding up as best he can after the traumatic incident.

"The basic routine traffic stop is what you think it's going to be, and then somebody's going to make a decision to shoot at you. It's so much to comprehend. I can't imagine what's flying through their mind and trying to understand what somebody's experiencing. I'm sure it's just overwhelming," said Roller of Officer Husnick's ordeal.

Roller said there's a lot of emotions going on when a life 'comes that close to ending'. Husnick is a five year veteran of the department.

Speaking on the Husnick's character, Chief Roller said he's a great officer, with great character and great decision making skills. Roller added that the officer has never experienced a deadly use of force incident in the past.

By state law, an independent agency must investigate all officer-involved shootings. The Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation took the lead on the case, at the request of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Langlade County Sheriff’s Office, and Antigo Police Department. All three agencies said they cooperated with DCI.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association responded to assist the officers with legal representation during the independent investigation.

Following Friday's ruling, Sheriff Jaeger released a statement, it said " This was a tragic event for all involved and we are pleased that we now have some closure. “We believed all along that our Deputies along with those officers from Langlade County and Antigo acted appropriately and out of necessity.”