DeForest chief recorded controversial video; Jon Benet investiga - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DeForest chief recorded controversial video; Jon Benet investigator to review chief's actions

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DEFOREST (WKOW) - A DeForest official says Police Chief Daniel Furseth recorded a controversial video and says the former lead investigator in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case will review Furseth's actions.


The video posted to YouTube includes the voice of Furseth apparently mocking a group of African American men as they approach a restaurant.

"He and I believe his wife were...in his car...and that's when the video took place,"  Village of DeForest administrator Steve Fahlgren tells 27 News. 


Fahlgren says Furseth was placed on administrative leave last month, when he made village officials aware of the video.  The video was posted to YouTube in December 2015, but has gone viral recently.


The video was posted to YouTube by Alexei Strelchenko around the time Strelchenko was involved in a legal battle with the village over his use of a drone.

Fahlgren says Strelchenko was a former, police volunteer, who lent his video camera to Furseth, so Furseth could tape a demonstration by rescue personnel of extrication techniques. The video of the African American men is believed to have been recorded about a decade ago.


"He told me he attempted to erase it,"  Fahlgren says of Furseth.


"He was embarrassed...ashamed of what he had done back in that time, and how's it's obviously impacting himself and the police department,"  Fahlgren says.

Furseth has yet to respond to requests for comment from 27 News.

Fahlgren says an investigation into the video and Furseth is being carried out by Mark Beckner, a former Boulder, Colorado police chief, who's currently a consultant.

Beckner's police career includes being the lead investigator into the 1996 murder of child, beauty pageant contestant JonBenet Ramsey.  In 2015, the retired Beckner acknowledged officers had fumbled their initial response to the high-profile crime.

Fahlgren says Beckner will be paid a maximum of $3,400, plus his costs, to do the review.  "To take a look at other possible actions that could indicate any on-going racial bias,"  Fahlgren says.  Fahlgren says Beckner is interviewing DeForest Police personnel this week.


In connection with his YouTube post, Strelchenko wrote the video reveals Furseth's "actual character,"  and maintains Furseth's racial insensitivity is part of the department's culture.  27 News was unable to reach Strelchenko for comment Monday.


Fahlgren says he's unaware of any citizen complaints lodged against Furseth over alleged, racial bias, or in connection with any other matter.  27 News has requested of police department officials information on any filed complaints against Furseth.


Fahlgren says Beckner's review should be complete in three weeks.
 

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