VIDEO: Charge Dropped On Village Board Candidate For Hitting Cop In Face
Mount Pleasant, WI – A former Mount Pleasant Village Board candidate will serve no time in jail for allegedly punching a city police officer in the face (video below).
Charles Haakma, 68, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer for his role in the Aug. 15, 2017 incident, The Journal Times reported.
In exchange for his pleas, prosecutors dropped a felony count of battery or threat to a law enforcement officer.
The court sentenced him to pay a $3,000 fine, plus court costs, WITI reported.
The village board candidate’s violent outburst began after Mount Pleasant police responded to a series of three near-simultaneous car crashes at the intersection of Spring Street and Green Bay Road, according to The Journal Times.
Haakma, who lived in the 4700-block of Spring Street at the time, was trying to drive to his house, when he got stuck in traffic caused by the chaos of the crash scenes.
As he edged closer to his residence, Haakma encountered Mount Pleasant Police Officer Christopher Huenink, who was directing traffic, The Journal Times reported.
Officer Huenink’s patrol vehicle was partially blocking Haakma’s driveway, so Haakma demanded that the officer stop directing traffic and go move it so he could pull in.
“He was just trying to get to his driveway,” Haakma’s attorney’s investigator, Daniel Storm, told WITI. “The man was blocking it.”
Bodycam footage showed Haakma yelling at the officer about the location of his parked patrol vehicle.
“I’m not blocking your drive,” Officer Huenink said calmly.
Haakma began arguing, and insisted that the officer needed to move his cruiser.
“It’s not going to happen right now,” Officer Huenink responded.
“And why not?” Haakma yelled. “Explain it to me…You won’t allow me in my driveway?”
“Then pull into the driveway,” the officer suggested.
Haakma then claimed that the officer “inhibited” him.
“You wanted me to hit you!” he declared to the officer. “Will you get out of the way so I can enter my driveway…Move!”
“I can’t believe they f--king hired you,” he muttered, as he drove past Officer Huenink and pulled into the driveway.
Haakma then ordered Officer Huenink to get off of his property, at which point the officer called for another officer and told Haakma that he was under arrest for being disorderly.
“Don’t touch me!” Haakma yelled repeatedly, pulling himself inside his vehicle and away from the officer.
Officer Huenink told him to get out of the truck multiple times, but the village board candidate insisted that he wasn't going anywhere.
The officer then reached into Haakma’s vehicle, at which point the irate man began fighting with him, bodycam footage showed.
During the scuffle, Officer Huenink’s bodycam became dislodged, causing the camera to be covered, but the audio function recorded Haakma as he yelled and screamed at the officers.
Officer Huenink later testified that Haakma punched him in the nose and cheek with a closed fist, The Journal Times reported.
As additional officers arrived at the scene to help the injured officer, Haakma screamed that they were breaking his glasses and his arm, bodycam footage showed.
“Oh my God!” he wailed as he was taken into custody. “I can’t breathe!”
Haakma continued to holler in the background, calling the officers “American Nazis” and insisting that they stole his wallet, The Journal Times reported.
Haakma’s attorney, Walter Stern, told the court that Haakma never struck the officer, and alleged that the officer actually struck his own face on a grab bar inside Haakma’s truck.
Mount Pleasant Interim Police Chief Matthew Soens backed Officer Huenink in a statement to The Journal Times.
“We do not have any reason to question his account of the events that took place,” Chief Soens told the paper. “I thought our officer did a great job maintaining his composure after he was struck.”
“Many times we see people in their worst possible moments which may, or may not be, indicative of their true self,” the chief added. “In this case, Mr. Haakma certainly seemed disproportionately agitated for what the situation warranted.”
You can watch bodycam footage of the officer’s encounter with Haakma in the video below: