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Green Bay Police Officer charged with misconduct

Green Bay Police released body cam video showing what happened during a traffic stop in November 2021
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Posted at 11:21 AM, Apr 18, 2023

LATEST NEWS: 13-year Green Bay Police Department veteran, Officer Matthew Knutson has been formally charged in Brown County court for his actions during a November 23, 2021 event.

Knutson is charged with Misconduct in Office Through Fraudulent Record or Statement, a felony that carries up to three and a half years in prison if convicted. He is also charged with a misdemeanor, Negligent Operation of a Vehicle, which carries not more than nine months.

Records show Knutson is scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on May 17.

Knutson has been on paid administrative leave since October 22, 2022.

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UPDATE: A Green Bay police officer is facing felony and misdemeanor charges related to a traffic stop on November 23, 2021.

The case involves Officer Matthew Knutson, who's been with the department for 13 years.

The Brown County District Attorney's Office issued charges of misconduct in public office — a felony — and negligent operation of a vehicle — a misdemeanor — to Knutson.

"I know that there has been some corrective action history, and then I know he's done some really positive work over the years," Green Bay Chief of Police Chris Davis said.

The incident occurred in the Imperial Pride neighborhood when a driver, identified as Robert Sanchez, fled on foot after being pulled over, according to a police account and police video.

Body and dash cam video show Officer Knutson beginning the traffic stop.

Other officers chased Sanchez on foot, but he ignored orders and continued to run, even after being tased.

Police and dash cam video show Officer Knutson eventually caught up to Sanchez with his squad car, turned into a yard where Sanchez was running, and knocked him to the ground with the car before arresting him.

"However this ends up in this case, that's not a reflection on that day-in and day-out really good work that our members do," Davis said. "But again, part of maintaining the public trust is identifying when people get outside the lines and making sure they're held accountable."

Chief Davis said Knutson has been on paid leave since October, when police learned of the incident and the investigation began.

Davis said Sanchez did not file a formal complaint.

Police said once the investigation is complete, they will follow up with findings as well as any corrective and disciplinary actions issued.

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ORIGINAL REPORTING: Green Bay Police Officer Matthew Knutson, a 13-year department veteran is facing allegations of misconduct related to a traffic stop in the Imperial Pride neighborhood that took place on November 23, 2021 when a suspected driver attempted to flee.

In a release, the Green Bay Police Department stated they were made aware by the Brown County District Attorney's Office on October 20, 2022 of concerns surrounding actions taken by Officer Knutson while trying to stop Robert Sanchez, 47, for a failure to yield right-of-way.

The Professional Standard Division (PSD) began an inquiry by reviewing body-worn and squad car camera footage along with other related documents from the incident. Initial investigation identified potential conflicts in Officer Knutson's police report details.

Conflicts showed that Officer Knutson hit Mr. Sanchez with his car during a foot pursuit, forcing him to the ground.

Officer Knutson was placed on administrative leave on October 22, 2022, while an independent law violation investigation took place by the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

“We take all allegations of misconduct by Green Bay Police officers seriously, and I am committed to handling them in a way that is objective, thorough, and fair to all involved. I made it clear from the beginning of my time here, and I reiterate again, that I will not tolerate excessive force, ethical violations, or criminal activity by GBPD members. However, in our system of justice, people accused of crimes are considered innocent until proven guilty. Officer Matthew Knutson has the same due process rights as any other defendant in a criminal matter,” said Chief Chris Davis, Green Bay Police Department.

The PSD investigation into policy violations is ongoing.