Milwaukee cop charged with felony for Waushara County bar fight
Mar 08, 2013 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A veteran Milwaukee police detective is facing criminal charges after a bar fight in Waushara County in November, according to a criminal complaint.
Lawrence D. Schimke Jr., who has been on the force since 1992, has pleaded not guilty to three charges: strangulation and suffocation, a felony; and battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
The incident occurred around midnight Nov. 16 at Sneaky Pete's bar in the Village of Hancock, the complaint says. Schimke, 43, was there with his 13-year-old son on a hunting trip.
The altercation began when Schimke exchanged words with a woman, Robin Jarosz, the complaint says. She told police he was harassing her and calling her names. Schimke contended Jarosz was using foul language in front of his son, who was playing a hand-held video game nearby, and he told her to stop.
One of Jarosz's friends, Lyle Zlensky, told Schimke to leave her alone, the complaint says.
"When he did so, Schimke got up, charged and tackled Zlensky," Jarosz told police.
Schimke got on top of Zlensky and choked him, "occasionally slamming his head on the floor," the complaint says.
Zlensky's face began to change color and Jarosz feared he would lose consciousness, she told police.
Schimke did not stop until his son came over and told him to, the complaint says. Schimke and his son then ran out of the bar.
Schimke told a Waushara County sheriff's deputy that he felt threatened when Zlensky approached him, so he "reacted by pushing the male backwards on his back," the complaint says. Schimke denied choking Zlensky and said "he actually helped Zlensky up off the floor and then later left the bar because he wanted to remove his son for safety reasons."
A security video at the bar contradicts his story, the complaint says.
In a victim impact statement, Zlensky said he could not speak, swallow or eat for two days.
"He's a bully that needs to be stopped," Zlensky said of Schimke.
Reached Friday, Schimke's attorney, Thomas E. Brown, said: "Mr. Schimke's position in his not guilty plea is that the items that are contained in the complaint are not accurate."
Police Spokesman Sgt. Mark Stanmeyer said that Schimke had been placed on administrative duty.
Schimke has been disciplined once before, according to his personnel record. He received an official reprimand for failing to operate a department vehicle in a safe manner. He also has one meritorious arrest on his record, for taking someone into custody on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.
If convicted, Schimke a maximum penalty of six years in prison.
A felony conviction requires an officer's removal from the department because felons cannot carry guns. Schimke's next court appearance is set for March 28.
A Journal Sentinel investigation published in October 2011 found that 93 Milwaukee police officers -- from street cop to captain -- had been disciplined for violating laws and ordinances they were sworn to uphold. The offenses ranged from sexual assault and domestic violence to drunken driving and shoplifting. Some officers had suffered no legal or career consequences. Others got breaks from prosecutors that allowed them to keep their badges and their guns. Still others were convicted of crimes but did not lose their jobs; one was a sergeant by day and an inmate by night.
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