Attorney seeks investigation results of officer accused of assault in Superior
The attorney for a Superior woman who claims she was assaulted by a police officer is seeking to have the district attorney turn over the results of a state investigation into the actions of the officer.
Rick Gondik, the defense attorney for 29-year-old Natasha Lancour, filed the motion for discovery in Douglas County Circuit Court last week. Gondik said the results of the investigation into Officer George Gothner could be crucial to his defense.
"We just don't know what's in there," he told the News Tribune. "It may be something that would blow the whole case wide open."
Gondik also filed a speedy trial demand last week, seeking the scheduling of a jury trial for the earliest possible date. In Wisconsin misdemeanor cases a defendant is entitled to a speedy trial within 60 days of an initial appearance. However, that will not apply in Lancour's case, with that time period expiring on Friday.
A status conference for the case was set for April 25, but Gondik said he wanted to keep the case moving along because the investigation was complete.
Gondik acknowledged that his request for the report is somewhat unusual. While defendants have the right to seek all reports that are relevant to the case, the circumstances of this case are not ordinary.
"Normally, when a case is still under investigation, I'd have no discovery," he said. "But, being that my client is the subject of another criminal case, I'm going to argue for the release of the report."
Attorneys will be in court on Wednesday to argue the motion before Judge Kelly Thimm.
The Superior Police Department in January asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate the actions of Gothner, who arrested Lancour outside the Keyport Lounge on Jan 5. The Department of Justice wrapped up its investigation last month and turned the results over to District Attorney Dan Blank, who will decide whether Gothner should be charged criminally.
Video of the incident shows Gothner delivering multiple closed-fist punches to Lancour's head. Gothner wrote in his report that Lancour was resisting arrest and scratched him in the face.
Blank did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.