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Superior police officer involved in 'use of force' incident caught on video is back at work

This image from the video of the altercation from a police car shows Officer George Gothner bringing Natasha Lancour to the hood of his vehicle.

The Superior Police Department officer who was placed on leave following the video release of him punching a female suspect returned to work Tuesday.

Officer George Gothner was assigned to administrative duty, “working on response plans to critical incidents,” a Superior Police news release said. He will not return to patrol at this time, as he faces a hearing Oct. 3 to determine whether or not he committed a crime in arresting Natasha Lancour.

“I’m stunned,” Lancour’s attorney, Rick Gondik, said in response. “There’s an ongoing criminal investigation into his conduct.”

Lancour, 29, was arrested in January outside Keyport Liquor & Lounge and later charged with disorderly conduct. Her trial is on hold, pending the result of Gothner’s hearing. Judge Kelly Thimm has scheduled a status conference for Lancour’s case Oct. 31, in Douglas County Circuit Court.

Gothner had been on paid administrative leave since shortly after the incident. The Superior Police release said it had expected a speedy resolution to the use-of-force investigation of Gothner by a special prosecutor, Bayfield County District Attorney Frederick Bourg. But with Bourg now referring the case to a John Doe hearing in October, the department “made the decision that the extended administrative leave status was not in the interest of the mission of the department,” the news release said.

Gondik believes a criminal charge against Gothner could spell the end of the case against Lancour, who had originally been charged with a felony. That charge has since been downgraded to disorderly conduct.

“If he gets charged, I’ll have a better argument against the injustice of the whole thing,” Godnik said. “It will put the focus back on him and, hopefully, result in charges being completely dismissed.”