Cell phone case shaped like handgun concerns Madison police - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Cell phone case shaped like handgun concerns Madison police

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Last Friday night a Madison police officer had to do a double take when he came across a novelty cell phone case shaped like a handgun.

The officer encountered the cell phone case and its owner while in downtown Madison during a nightly patrol. After telling the owner it's probably not a good idea to have this unique case in public the owner asked if he could take a picture with the officer. Unbeknownst to this officer the owner was pointing the fake gun in his direction.

"The owner had his gun under his arm like this," Madison Police Chief Mike Koval demonstrates during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "The officer couldn't see it and didn't know it was in the picture."

The picture eventually surfaced on social media. One concerned citizen saw the picture on Twitter and sent it to various news outlets wondering why an officer would pose with a citizen holding a gun. WKOW TV in Madison contacted police for an explanation and Koval explained how the whole ordeal was a complete misunderstanding.

"I thought the photo was photoshopped at first. I just couldn't imagine one of our officers putting themselves in this sort of situation. The officer remembered the encounter, but didn't know about the cell phone case."

Koval says the department eventually made contact with this owner to understand why he decided to point this fake gun at an officer. Koval says the owner apologized and said his decision to hold up the gun was in bad taste. He asked Koval if there was anything he could do to help make things right.

"I asked him if I could have his cell phone case as a prop," Koval says. "He was gracious and gave us the case to use as a  prop that would have some value in teaching others and in putting others on alert about how dangerous this kind of thing can be."

Koval says this misunderstanding served as a blessing in disguise, because it gave Madison police an opportunity to show the public the kinds of items officers will be confiscating at Freakfest Halloween night. Officials say they will not allow any fake weaponry, including swords, knives, firearms, or anything else that could be mistaken for a weapon.

To help illustrate how dangerous this fake gun could be in a public setting Chief Koval placed the cell phone case next to a standard issue Madison police handgun. Looking at the two pieces side by side you can see how someone could easily mistake  the case for an actual gun.

Koval says departments across the country have asked manufacturers to stop making these novelties as they pose a serious public safety risk.

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