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Federal lawsuit filed against Appleton police officer over deadly 2022 shooting

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 29, 2024
  • Lawsuit filed against Appleton Police Officer Bryce Rudebeck
  • Incident: Shooting and killing of Daniel Pesavento during a standoff in 2022
  • Alleges that the use of deadly force was unnecessary, unreasonable, and excessive
  • Experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of the incident
  • The family's attorney speaks out

A lawsuit has been filed against Appleton Police Officer Bryce Rudebeck, who shot and killed Daniel Pesavento during a standoff in 2022. The incident took place in the 1500 block of Birchwood Lane and originated from a domestic violence call.

Timeline of Events

On August 12, 2022, police responded to a domestic violence call at around 7:15 PM. Daniel Pesavento, 33, was reported outside his garage, holding a loaded gun and claiming he was suicidal. According to the criminal complaint filed in the lawsuit, Pesavento was pacing around the driveway, at times pointing the gun at his head and the ground.

Body camera footage from the scene, recorded at 8:05 PM, shows officers attempting to de-escalate the situation.

Despite their efforts, Pesavento continued to hold the gun to his head.

At 8:06 PM, Officer Rudebeck, from 100 feet away behind his patrol car, fired four shots. All four shots hit Pesavento in the buttocks, right shoulder, and back. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Legal Action

The lawsuit, filed nearly two years after the incident, alleges that Officer Rudebeck's use of deadly force was unnecessary, unreasonable, and excessive.

It also claims that Rudebeck lied to investigators, stating that he used deadly force because Pesavento took a shooting stance.

The suit states Pesavento experienced terror, bodily injury, pain, suffering, and death as a result of the shooting.

The lawsuit also highlights that Pesavento was a decorated military veteran who suffered from undiagnosed and untreated PTSD and was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of the incident.

Family Attorney’s response

Michael Fox, the attorney, representing the family in the federal lawsuit states there wasn’t enough time for police to respond to a man going through a mental health crisis before the shooting.

“The only danger that Daniel Pesavento presented was to himself and that is something that has to be understood. It will be understood by a jury but it is something that's worthwhile for the public to understand,” he says.

Fox says the evidence his law firm, Fox & Fox S.C., collected in this case has been from the neighbors who were witnesses to the shooting.

“I want to hear from police officers as to what they think of the conduct,” he says. “I believe, is a very tough job. But there are situations where it is not done in accordance with the law. This is one of those situations,” Fox adds.

In the lawsuit, the family, including Daniel Pesavento’s wife, Alexandra and their now almost four-year-old daughter, are seeking a yet undetermined amount of damages against Officer Rudebeck and the City of Appleton.

Attempts to reach both Officer Rudebeck and the Appleton Police Department for comment on the lawsuit have been unsuccessful.

Stay with NBC 26 for further updates.