Disabled Man Assaulted by Portage, WI Police for Not Providing His ID
Kristan T. Harri
( Portage- WI ) On Thursday May 1st, local Portage police received a call to investigate a suspicious man sitting in front of Gorsuch Insurance Agency in downtown Portage. Gregory L. Weisensel, 40, was listening to his headphones on a stoop in front of the office when police arrived. Police where called because Melissa Henning was concerned for her safety and that Weisensel was “rocking back and forth, really agitated and kept looking over his shoulder”.
Henning told the Portage Daily Register that “I was very uncomfortable and I did not call the police. I called the landlord because I knew she was coming to get the rent checks because it was the first of the month. I asked her when she was coming, told her there was someone out there and I was uncomfortable and just wanted to see where she was at,” Henning said.
Shortly after, Henning received a call from owner John Gorsuch letting her know that Weisensel was not a threat, however the landlord had already called police. Gorsuch drove past his business a few minutes prior and recognized Weisensel. When police arrived, they assaulted him for not providing his ID.
Baraboo resident Ryan Novander recorded the incident.
“It was sprinkling outside, wasn’t very bad, but this gentleman was obviously sitting there to get out of the rain while he waited for a bus to go see his mom in Madison is what I later found out,” Novander said. “Upon sitting there I noticed a Portage Police Department squad car pull up, an officer gets out of his vehicle, makes contact, sits there and talks to him for about a minute or two. Greg appears to stand up and appeared to try and walk away at that moment. Greg was then grabbed very violently, which I did not catch on video which is the reason I did start to record the video, and then he was slammed up against the wall.”
Novander said he rolled up his window, began to tape and yelled “hey” at the police to catch their attention.
“It went from there and was absolutely disgusting,” he said.
Portage Police Chief Ken Manthey said “if there’s a safety concern then the officers need the full name of the individual to make sure there are no active warrants or bond violations.”
“He was obstructing justice by not providing the officer with the necessary information,” Manthey said. “You can see by watching those videos the officers were very patient with him and kept telling him they wanted him to cooperate. The video tape does not show what happened at the beginning … every day we are put in very difficult situations dealing with people — whether a mental disorder, intoxicated or suicidal — and we have a very difficult job to do.”
Novander expressed that he did not feel threatened by Weisensel, but that the officers are a threat to the community if they treat someone with a disability in such a manner.
“I’m not done pushing it … I’m really pushing for a public apology, his obstruction of justice ticket to be dropped … morality is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told and obedience is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right and they are clearly following obedience and not morality,” Novander said.