Prosecutor: Neillsville officer acted properly in fatal shooting - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Prosecutor: Neillsville officer acted properly in fatal shooting

NEILLSVILLE (WAOW) – A 24-year-old Neillsville policeman acted properly in fatally shooting a drunken 23-year-old man who confronted him with a knife during an early-morning disturbance, a prosecutor ruled Friday.

Officer Aaron Bembnister's performance of his duties “did not constitute any criminal wrongdoing” and he was justified in using deadly force in shooting Ricky Taylor, Clark County District Attorney Lyndsey Boon Brunette said in a statement.

“Officer Bembnister had no choice but to use force,” the prosecutor concluded.

Bembnister responded to a disturbance at a home in Neillsville about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 13 after a friend of his mother's  reported to police that Taylor was drunk and threw a knife at him, Brunette said in a seven-page report.

People at the home, including Taylor's mother and grandmother, told investigators that Taylor was "severely mad," belligerent, irate, out of control and extremely intoxicated before Bembnister arrived, the report said.

When Taylor ignored requests to put down the knife - described as a black-handled, serrated kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade - and Bembnister had retreated as far as he could on a porch, the officer fired three or four shots, the report said.

Taylor later died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. His blood-alcohol level was 0.198 percent, more than double the legal limit to drive, the prosecutor's report said.

Witnesses told investigators that Taylor did not like law enforcement, twice told Bembnister to “just shoot me” and continued to approach and confront the officer despite warnings to stop, the report said.

“Office Bembnister gave numerous commands for Mr. Taylor to drop the knife to protect everyone's safety and Mr. Taylor ignored those repeated commands,” the prosecutor said. “Mr. Taylor's actions caused Officer Bembnister to reasonably fear imminent death or serious physical harm.”

Bembnister became certified as a law enforcement officer in 2011 and joined the Neillsville Police Department in May 2012, the report said.

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