Luke Weiland was driving his sons and their friend to baseball practice when he was pulled over by a police officer who inexplicably held Weiland and the three children at gunpoint, shouting bizarre orders at them before eventually letting them go with minor citations. Weiland has now sued the police arguing that the officers used excessive force and unreasonably detained him.
The ordeal started on January 29, 2023, when Weiland—an attorney in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin—was driving his two sons, ages 14 and 12, and their 12-year-old friend to baseball practice in a nearby town. According to the suit, around 9:20 am, Weiland noticed a police cruiser behind him with his emergency lights on. Believing the cruiser to be trying to pass him, Weiland pulled along the shoulder of the road to allow the officer to pass. However, after a few minutes, Weiland realized the officer was trying to pull him over, so he turned onto the shoulder of a side road.
However, instead of a typical stop, Officer Rodney Krakow opened the door of his cruiser and began yelling for Weiland to put his keys on the roof of the car and for everyone inside the car to keep their hands on the ceiling of the vehicle.
"Officer Krakow was acting erratically, yelling, and shouting demands that made no sense," the complaint reads. "His behavior was concerning to everyone in the Weiland truck to the point that they thought something might be wrong with the officer to be behaving in this manner."
Soon after, a second officer, Douglas Van Berkel, arrived and both began pointing their guns at Weiland's car. Krakow demanded that Weiland get out of his vehicle and kneel on the ground. At this point, it was only five degrees outside. As Weiland complied, holding his driver's license and registration, Krakow grabbed the paperwork and threw it on the ground without looking at it.
Krakow handcuffed Weiland, while Van Berkel kept his gun pointed at Weiland. At this point, Krakow asked who the car's passengers were, and Weiland told him they were his two sons and their friend. Eventually, after a third officer arrived, the officers picked up Weiland's discarded ID and realized that Weiland was an attorney who was family friends with the local sheriff. According to the complaint, one of the officers even remarked that "he knew Weiland and his family and that they (the officers) would be alright."
Eventually, Weiland asked what was going on, and Krakow told him that the incident was being treated as a "high risk vehicle stop" because Weiland didn't immediately pull over.
"This whole ordeal right here with pulling your guns out on me is fucking ridiculous," body camera footage shows Weiland telling Krakow.
Eventually, Weiland was released and given citations for speeding and resisting/fleeing a scene, though those citations were eventually dropped.
Weiland's suit, which was filed last week, claims that the officers violated Weiland's "rights to be free from unreasonable seizures when they detained the Plaintiffs at the scene for substantially longer than was necessary to accomplish the original purposes of the traffic stop" and that the officers used "excessive force by pointing their guns at" Weiland and the children.
Unfortunately, this is far from the first time police officers have held innocent people—including kids—at gunpoint during a routine traffic stop.
In 2020, police in Aurora, Colorado, forced an innocent family—including a 6-year-old girl—to lie facedown on the pavement at gunpoint after allegedly mistaking their car for a stolen motorcycle. In 2022, two elderly Texas residents filed a lawsuit alleging that a police officer violently arrested them and held them at gunpoint during a traffic stop. And just last year, Texas police apologized over a strikingly similar "high-risk traffic stop" that led police to hold an Arkansas family at gunpoint.
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