Police officer George Gothner was caught on video earlier this month punching an uncooperative woman two times in the face with a closed fist, but despite the outrage the case has generated the Wisconsin police department is defending his actions.
The incident took place January 5 in Superior, Wisconsin.
The video comes from a dashboard mounted camera. The police car rolls onto an already chaotic scene, with one person sprawled out on the frozen ground and officers are engaged with two other people.
As they lead away one man in handcuffs, Natasha Lancour is seen arguing with an officer. The two move off camera, but officer George Gothner is quickly seen dragging Lancour back into the frame and slamming her down onto the hood of a police car. During the struggle, he punches Lancour in the face two times.
Nathasha Lancour claims that race was a factor in the way police treated her
“You did that s*** because I was black,” she said.
But George Gothner tells a different story. The police office said he punched the woman because she was attacking him, leaving him with scratches on his face.
“Suddenly Lancour reached up with her left hand and struck and scratched me across the right side of my face,” he said in a report. “My reaction was that I gave her a closed fist punch to the left side of her face.”
While attorneys for the police department said Gothner’s actions were justified, Lancour’s attorney disagreed.
“She has marks on her face, swelling of the cheeks, as well as a cut between her lip and her chin,” said lawyer Richard Gondik. “As you can see the officer punches her with an uppercut right, knocking her down and off camera.”
Police have asked bystanders who recorded video of police officer George Gothner punching Natasha Lancour to come forward so they can review all evidence. At least one person can be seen on the dashboard video holding a cell phone to record the event.