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A Closer Look At Kenosha County Sheriff Candidate Albert “Brian” Gonzales

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Kenosha Police Officer Albert “Brian” Gonzales, Candidate For Kenosha County Sheriff

By: Jack Fleming, A Special to Kenosha County Eye

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Although Kenosha Police Officer Albert “Brian” Gonzales has a loyal following, there are several aspects to his candidacy that may cause him difficulty in winning not only the upcoming partisan primary, but also the general election.  Questions about his history in law enforcement, his qualifications and experience, and even his intent for running have piqued the interest of many voters, and it seems as though those voters have begun to pull away from Camp Gonzales as election day rapidly approaches.

The most obvious of these issues is that of his controversial involvement with the Michael Bell Jr. shooting that happened in 2004.  Many Kenosha County citizens are just now becoming more acquainted with the case because candidate Brian Gonzales was the officer who pulled the trigger.  Even though this incident happened long ago, Michael Bell Jr.’s father, Michael Bell Sr., has kept the issue alive and at the forefront of everyone’s minds with consistent advertisements and public statements in an effort to ensure his son’s death was handled justly.  He has continued to claim that the Kenosha Police Department was involved in a cover-up to protect the officers involved and the department, and that the shooting of his son was in fact unjustified rather than a justified self-defense shooting which was what the Kenosha Police decided it was.  He has called for further investigation of forensic evidence, specifically the bullet that was fired from Gonzales’ weapon, and has specifically targeted Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian to re-open the case.  It’s well-documented that the officers involved in this incident changed their stories a number of times—not just a few, but 19 times total between them, which Michael Bell Sr. believes could be evidence of a cover-up.  Regarding the investigation and trial of the officers, Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel stated: “At worst, [the officers] might have lied” in their testimony. 

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In addition to holding the brunt of the controversy around Michael Bell Jr.’s death, Gonzales may have created an uphill battle for himself when he wrote and self-published a memoir which details the incident rather graphically.  In it, there are such statements as “the blood oozed its way down the hood and made its way over every dent…and began pooling near my boots.”    Many voters have voiced their shock and disapproval in Gonzales’ choice to publish such material, and are further concerned with excerpts such as, “…my mind flashed to every deer I had ever killed,” and “’Yaay—woohoo! I did it!’ I cheered inside my head, as though I had scored a winning touchdown.”  Gonzales loyalists have maintained that the book was written for other LEOs and military personnel who may have PTSD or other traumas associated with committing violent but necessary acts, but others still maintain that the book taints Gonzales’ credibility as he runs for public office.  This author asked a retired law enforcement officer about the quotes in question, and although they prefer to remain anonymous, they provided us with their perspective: “As a former law enforcement officer in a major city, there were countless times I pointed my weapon as a use of force at a suspect.  There were several times that my finger was on the trigger only a split second away from shooting someone.  In those instances I knew the gravity of what may happen and never once did I take it so cavalierly as to think of it as shooting a deer or scoring a winning touchdown.” It’s reasonable to assume that other law enforcement officers may feel similarly, even moreso because Gonzales has not sought or received any endorsements from law enforcement officials or organizations that this author is aware of.

An additional, more recent controversy surrounding Brian Gonzales’ candidacy is his retirement from the Kenosha Police Department, which he submitted June 2, 2022.  Gonzales has served the Kenosha Police for over 25 years, but his retirement comes at an interesting time considering its proximity to his seeking public office.  If Gonzales were to win the race and become Kenosha County’s next Sheriff, he would then be able to “double dip,” meaning he would collect both his pension from his retirement as well as the Sheriff’s salary, all on the taxpayer dime.  While this isn’t an illegal practice, it’s generally frowned upon and many voters feel untrusting of a candidate they’ll be forced to pay twice.  It looks even more conspicuous given that he requested his employment to end specifically on August 9th, which is election day for the partisan primary.

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Gonzales’ supporters, most of whom are connected to a local activist group which his wife is an active member, have been aggressive in their online campaigning tactics.  They routinely fill social media comment threads with links to his website or offer defenses against these controversies. They also seem undeterred by the question of whether or not Gonzales could defeat the Democratic candidate for the general election, James Simmons.  August 9th will reveal whether or not their efforts will be rewarded, or if they will have accidentally turned away too many voters with their militancy.

Gonzales’s Letter of Retirement
Excerpt From Gonzales’s Book

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  1. Dave Smetana, Chief of Pleasant Prairie Police is double dipping. No one seems to have a problem with him doing that, why would anyone care about Gonzales double dipping.

      1. If Smetana is so competent then why did he push almost the entire upper half of the department into early retirement and many others to leave law enforcement all together? For the fist time in the history of the department, the are talking lateral transfers from other agencies because they’re desperate to fill positions. Smetana is nothing but an egotistical and hypocritical pr**k. Someone should look into him. He’s a puppet and in the Village’s back pocket.

        1. I would like to know how many people have left since Smetana became the competent chief of Pleasant Prairie? I would also like to know why certain employees were fired and one who stole PTO time from the department is still working? Theft is theft. Just ask Steinbrink.

    1. Smetana wasn’t elected to his position. The Sheriff position pays over $100,000 with no requirement to actually come in and work. Sheriff Dave Beth has been known to work less than 10 hours a week at times for that salary.

      I also hear Ray Rowe is planning on retiring. If he is elected he will also be double-dipping. Rowe is endorsed by Beth—didn’t Beth make double-dipping a campaign issue against Zarletti and win because of it?

  2. If a person is entitled to their pension they are entitled to their pension and this double dipping stuff is a bunch of nonsense. Having said that, Mr. Gonzalez is probably damaged goods and not likely to be able to accomplish much as sheriff

    1. Gonzales and Rowe may have earned their pensions, but we don’t have to vote to give them a job that pays over six figures while they earn their pension.

  3. Gonzales can not manage his own family’s finances. CCAP him and see for yourself. How can someone who can’t budget his own money manage the multimillion dollar sheriff budget.

    The fact that this guy does not have the self awareness to realize how unqualified he is for this office shows that he has many loose screws.

    1. Maybe that’s why he wants to double dip. More money to spend recklessly. Ill be honest, if he does win I hope he upgrades his personal car. Can’t walk around with that much fake machismo and be rolling up in a Star Wars prius. The force is weak in that one.

    2. Take a look at Zoerner’s financials, his foreclosures are very recent! Also his excuse for running as a Dem is just garbage. You either have true conservative values or you don’t, switching parties as a strategy makes you a liar plan and simple.

      1. OK, Bryan, Albert, or what every name you are using today. We hear you. You don’t like all these people saying mean things about you. However, you should have thought about that before you decided to run. That is what self awareness is all about. You are not capable of really knowing your own limitations and weaknesses. That is indicative of narcissism.

      2. I asked Zoerner about this. He explained it all to me. This was during the housing collapse. His wife lost her job then his tenants also lost jobs. The Zoerners worked hard and caught up on all their debts. They never evicted their tenants that were struggling, never filed bankruptcy and was NEVER foreclosed on. Zoerner did the right thing and paid their bills back. If you have questions about it I’m sure Zoerner would answer them for you, he was very open and candid about it to me.

  4. The NAZIs had cold blooded killers as officers in their ranks while being well compensated for just following orders. For them, it was a natural way of life.

  5. Take a look at Zoerner’s financials, his foreclosures are very recent! Also his excuse for running as a Dem is just garbage. You either have true conservative values or you don’t, switching parties as a strategy makes you a liar plan and simple.

  6. It’s not an easy thing to have to shoot a man. You live with that the rest of your life. Bryan didn’t have a choice in that shooting, you know it, I know it, and his father who has been making trouble for Bryan since it happened knows it. This is the first time I found CKE bought and paid for by the LEFT.

    1. Mr. Bundza: You have been conned by this charlatan. There is overwhelming forensic evidence that the officers’ accounts of the shooting are a set of evolving lies. Your buddy participated in these lies and the cover-up. Yea, his bosses may have ordered him to do so. That means that Gonzales would be a likely recipient of a plea deal from the feds if he would turn on the higher ups. I can see that happening in the future. Gonzales is unfit to be Sheriff. The only reason why he was able to continue to work as a low level patrol officer on the department was because they needed him to keep his mouth shut. Now that he is retired, maybe he can free himself from the virtual prison he has put himself in.

  7. So you have sold your soul to the left CKE. Sorry to see that. When you do not want to post a comment. It’s:
    “Duplicate comment detected ”
    Up your liberal ass Kevin.
    You’re blocked.

  8. The “on the taxpayer dime” is inaccurate. A retiree is entitled to the pension and the employer and employee have already paid into the fund. If the annuitant goes back to work for a WRS employer after the waiting period then they are being paid for work they do without additional WRS contributions. No additional taxpayer money. In fact, taxpayers could save money because someone not “retired” would have to have WRS contributions made. And police departments are losing dozens of experienced officers to early retirement. It costs money to train new people who will then take years to become “experienced.” Most of the time “double dipping” is a bogus argument.

    Gonzales is damaged goods. Respect his spiritual conversion but is he the person for the job? If he is the Republican candidate would you vote for him or the Democrat Simmons?

  9. I like Gonzales. I like Zoernrt, they both have a thoughtful plan. I have talked to both. Rowe I trots speak with him but he seamed to be much to busy to bother with me. Having looked into him he had lots of support because he was the Dare Officer. For like 18 years. That seems to be his support base. But what else has he done. I have had a difficult time finding out anything else. Except that he is not thrilled about concealed carry. That’s one thing that bothers me the most. That was from a recent article published here.

    1. I like Gonzales’ ideas, for the most part, but he’s not qualified. Zoerner offered two ideas: more traffic enforcement (codeword for policing for profit) and fully staff the jail (supposed to be done anyway). Not ready for the job of sheriff. I like him personally but he doesn’t have much to offer. Rowe has articulated even less.

      1. Traffic enforcement is a big deal. Seriously, how often to you see someone pulled over? Speeding, no or expired tags, reckless etc. Been on green bay road this year. F#@#!in daytona 500.

        1. If enforcement is for public safety, go for it.

          But the Racine County Sheriff brags about how much money they make on I-94.

  10. If you want any kind of good future or safe home for your family. Move out of Kenosha! There is no fixing this city. What has been going on here in city administration for last 15 yrs is not fixable. City of Kenosha has only so much time left before it completely goes to hell.

  11. I find this article completely unhelpful. You have not provided any new information. You write in a way as to lead your readers into believing something that is campaign propaganda (for Zoerner) rather than sticking to facts. This is a biased article and is so obviously slanted towards Zoerner. I think you rely on readers not being capable of thinking critically and analyzing data and information for themselves and hoping they believe the conclusions you provide so nice and neatly in your writing. According to this author, we are to conclude that Gonzalez is corrupt for collecting a pension he earned honestly for serving the Kenosha community doing a dangerous job and also running for a paid elected position where he will be held accountable to taxpayers?? And because he wrote a book about his experience in law enforcement he is twisted instead of open and honest, sharing a life-changing experience that regular citizens will never (thankfully) have to face. I can say from personal experience, I have had face-to-face one-on-one conversations with both Zoerner and Gonzalez (the only two candidates I could see myself voting for) and Gonzalez answered my questions directly and spent time explaining his answer to me (a lay-person) while Zoerner was indirect and avoided giving me concrete answers much like a typical politician. Everyone should make their own mind up but please use caution as you read anything written by this author. I am not accusing the author of lying but am accusing him of presenting himself as a neutral, unbiased ‘investigator’ when his articles are saturated with opinion, propaganda and more emotion-based writing than fact.

  12. I’ve thought about this article a bit over the last couple days. There’s one thing Gonzales says that tells me he is a monster. Comparing shooting a man to scoring a winning touchdown. I’ve worked in rail. I know railroaders who have had one or more ‘man under’, someone under the wheels of their train. In that industry, it’s not an IF you hit and kill someone, it’s a WHEN. I wasn’t in it long enough to have such an incident myself, but every locomotive crew member I know who has more than ten years on the job, has had at least one. It changes you for life. The guys I know, they have nightmares about it. There’s that guilt gnawing at them, even though it can be proven that nothing, nothing at all they could have done different would have changed the outcome, they still kick themselves with that perpetual question, what could they have done different. None of the guys I know would ever, ever compare hitting a person to scoring a winning touchdown. I’ve spent enough hours up at night talking to them when their anxiety hits, I know that with absolute certainty. Firing a gun, holding a throttle, either way it’s a piece of machinery their hands are operating. I consider Gonzales to be a monster. No. Actually, worse. Monsters, Godzilla, King Kong, what have you, they’re just going by instinct. I’m very glad he was not the winning candidate. He showed himself in his autobiography, and it’s sickening. Before reading his commentary, I was on the fence about him. Figured that well, hindsight is always 20/20. Maybe at the time he took what he felt was the best course. Not now. I see him for who he is now.

  13. only the wicked rejoice when justice is not served, that little demon sociopath would do well to remember justice will find him in the end

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