Body camera blunders during tense encounter in Janesville - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Body camera blunders during tense encounter in Janesville

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) - The body cameras of two Janesville Police officers failed to capture a suspect's alleged attempt to take one of the officer's guns, and the suspect's announcement he was going to try to disarm the officer a second time.

In a Nov. 3 news release from the Janesville Police Department, it was stated 28-year old domestic violence suspect Trevor Prevatt lunged at one of two responding officers.

Sgt. Dean Sukus says when Prevatt was unsuccessful in disarming the officer, Prevatt announced another threat.

"He was going to count down when he was going to lunge and try to get the officer's gun again," Sukus says.  "So he began counting down."

Police body camera video does capture one of the officers deploying a taser against Prevatt, with the suspect falling to the ground, and then being handcuffed.

Sukus says one of the officer's body cameras was not functioning.  He says there's been on-going problems with body camera battery life with the units the department purchased from manufacturer Taser.

Sukus says the other officer's body camera was not activated during Prevatt's allegedly threatening actions.  "You don't get to hear the encounter,"  Sukus says.

After Prevatt is placed in a police car, body camera video records the officer's remarks to his partner, justifying his tactics.  "I figured he was going to go for your gun again,"  the officer says on camera.  "That's why I tased him."

Sukus says the officer's failure to activate his body camera sooner is under review to determine if he violated department policy.  Sukus says the policy generally calls for officers to turn on body cameras when they contact someone in connection with their police duties.

Sukus reinforces the officers successfully deescalated a threatening situation, with no one being hurt.

Janesville Police officials tentatively charged Prevatt with felony disarming a police officer at the time of his arrest, along with other charges.  The felony charge incorporates a disarming attempt.

In Rock County court Tuesday, Prevatt faced only misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. 

Assistant Rock County District Attorney Richard Sullivan is prosecuting Prevatt.  He's yet to return a call from 27 News seeking comment on whether the more serious recommended charge was rejected due to the lack of video evidence.


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