A 17-year old incident of alleged police misconduct is now seeing the light of day. It might not have, if it wasn’t for Kenosha Private Investigator, and former Alderman, Kevin Mathewson. Mathewson says he received a tip that a Kenosha Fire Lieutenant, Randall Wesphal was given special treatment by a Kenosha area Police Officer during a traffic stop. That’s all – not many more details or date range. With this, Mathewson made a request to the Sheriff’s department and Kenosha Police on June 19, 2020 for a list of all police reports under Randy Westphal’s name. The Sheriff’s department responded 4 days later with a list of two calls, neither was what he was looking for. He thought he hit a dead end. That was, until he got an email from the Kenosha Police department notifying him that the report he was looking for was KSD 2003-8450. “But why didn’t the Sheriff’s department find this report?” he thought.
Now that Mathewson had the report number, he thought the report was within his grasp. He was wrong. After requesting this report through the Wisconsin Public Records Statutes, he was DENIED access by Kenosha Sheriff’s Media Relations Sgt. David Wright in a written letter. Mathewson appealed this decision and Wright said he spoke to his boss and it was denied. Mathewson told Wright that a lawsuit was coming and he didn’t want tax-dollars to be wasted on litigation. Wright still refused. Wright likely would not have made this decision without approval from the Sheriff.
On August 20, 2020 Mathewson hired an attorney and made good on his promise. He filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Beth. Mathewson won.
A little over a month into the lawsuit, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s department agreed to release the report. A few days after that, they reached a settlement agreement with Mathewson for $2,300. This $2,300 comes from…. you guessed it! The taxpayers of Kenosha County.
Eager to read this report that Sheriff Beth wanted hidden so badly, Mathewson soon discovered why the Sheriff’s department didn’t want this in the hands of the public. You can view the report in its entirety here. The report details an embattled Kenosha Fire Lieutenant who was severely disciplined for misconduct. He was pulled over on highway 50 out in the county in a Blue 2001 Jeep. He had a loaded .357 Ruger in the car on the seat next to him. This was illegal as it was before the concealed carry was passed into law. Police also found an open bottle of Johnny Walker Blue label in the vehicle which he admitted to drinking 5-6 ounces of it. Deputy Bourdo should have charged Westphal with DUI, intoxicated possession of a firearm, transporting a firearm not in a case, and open intoxicants. Deputy Bourdo did not refer ANY criminal charges to the DA’s office. Instead, he released Westphal to the Fire Chief and gave the gun to a family member to secure.
Even more alarming, Deputy Bourdo added to the police report 2 days later, writing, “I will state now, for record, that Westphal being a City of Kenosha Firefighter had no bearing in my not seeking charges…….I would have afforded the same opportunity to any citizen”
Mathewson says he is happy that the system worked as intended and he was able to prevail to obtain this information. Mathewson says he will be donating some of his net proceeds from the lawsuit to the next candidate that challenges Sheriff Beth in an election. He said the Sheriff is very anti-transparent and the citizens need to know.
Deputy Bourdo has since retired from the Sheriff’s department.