Court Battles

Father sues after Wisconsin officer filmed kneeling on 12-year-old girl’s neck

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An Illinois man sued a former Wisconsin police officer on Monday who was filmed kneeling on his 12-year-old daughter’s neck while breaking up a fight at a Kenosha middle school last March.

Jerrel Perez filed a lawsuit against former officer Shawn Guetschow, the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha Unified School District over the incident, accusing the officer of using “unreasonable and excessive” force against his daughter, and the police department and school district of failing to properly train Guetschow.

While attempting to break up a fight between Perez’s daughter and another student last March, Guetschow allegedly held the 12-year-old girl face down on the cafeteria floor and put his right knee on her neck, in what the lawsuit described as an “unlawful chokehold.”

Perez’s daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury, cervical strain and recurrent headaches, as well as emotional distress and mental trauma, from the incident, according to court documents.

The lawsuit also alleged that the Kenosha Police Department permitted Guetschow to become a school security officer despite a previous report that described him in his previous role as a police officer in Lake Geneva, Wis., as “emotional, panicked or loses their temper” and his field performance as “unacceptable.”

Perez, who has since moved with his daughter to Illinois, has previously compared the incident to the killing of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Kenosha was the site of several days of explosive protests in August 2020, after police shot and seriously injured Jacob Blake. The unrest came to a head when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two people and injured one other.

Tags chokehold Derek Chauvin George Floyd George Floyd Jacob Blake Kenosha Kenosha Police Department police Wisconsin

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