On the first day of testimony in the trial of Allan Brown, jurors heard from all of the Kenosha Deputies that were on scene the day police and prosecutors say a man wanted for a double murder shot at them.
Kenosha County ADA Alexandra Smathers gave a brief opening statement today. “Thirty-three seconds,” said Smathers. “That’s what this case is about…. We have all of the incident on body camera, that’s the beauty of technology.” She was correct, today, the jury saw the entire encounter play out before them from many angles of body-worn cameras, that were relatively new at the time of the shooting.
Defense attorney Addison Kuhn gave an even shorter opening statement. “I ask that you keep an open mind and hold the state to their burden of proof,” he told the jury.
Deputy Coultrip was the first officer to respond. He is now a Sergeant. The Sheriff’s Department received two calls, one from Chicago police detectives, and another from On-Star. The Department was told that a grey Buick SUV was mapping to Benson Corner gas station on Highway 50 in bristol. They told deputies that it may be occupied by Allan Brown, a suspect in a double homicide and carjacking in Chicago. Coultrip drove past the suv and saw that it was occupied. The brake lights flashed multiple times while Coultip was parked across the parking lot.
Deputy Avila arrived next and spoke with Deputy Coultrip. They waited for more deputies to arrive. The plan was to initiate a high-risk traffic stop. Deputies described this as a tactic in which they form a “V” with their squad cars and order the suspect out of the vehicle. Deputied Tifft, K9 Riggs, and Weyand arrived on scene next.
The jury also watched body camera footage from most of the officers that were present. Here are some still photos from those videos:
Tifft then drove to a veterinarian in Paddock Lake. Tifft, unsure if Riggs would survive, was very emotional, both on October 21, 2021, and in the courtroom today. K9 Riggs is also a family member of Tifft and his family. Riggs goes home every day after work with Tifft. The jury heard from very human deputies that came close to being hit by gunfire. One deputy actually believed he was hit in the head. Experts say that this is very normal. Also, oftentimes people don’t notice immediately if they have been hit due to the adrenaline and mental aspects. Deputies check each other and thankfully none were injured. K9 Riggs was sent via a Salem Lakes Ambulance to a veterinary center in Illinois. There is a new law that allows police dogs to hitch a ride on ambulances.
So far the video evidence makes this case very difficult for the two defense attorneys, who aren’t asking many questions on cross-examination.
Kenosha Circuit Court Judge Anthony Milisauskas allowed the prosecution to do a “jury view” of K9 Riggs. Deputy Tifft went out to get the dog and brought him into the courtroom for the jury to examine him. Tifft said that there is scarring from the wound, but that it is mostly covered with fur. The bullet hid Riggs in the head and went through the muscle, but never penetrated the skull. Riggs was released after 3 days with medical care instructions.
Sheriff David W. Zoerner was in court today to show his support for his deputies.
State Crime Lab Analyst Katie McCoy testified about how she slowed down the body camera footage so that it would be easier for the jury to see what happened.
Testimony will continue tomorrow morning.