On October 30, 2023, the Pleasant Prairie Police Department (PPPD) was notified that Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley returned a decision that no criminal charges would be issued against the police officers who were involved in the arrest of Jacob Albright on July 20, 2023. Mr. Albright died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while being transported to jail by Pleasant Prairie officers.
Following is the background on the incident as reflected in the findings of the District Attorney and Investigators:
On July 20, 2023, members of the PPPD were involved in the arrest of Mr. Albright after an incident earlier in the day where he was observed in possession of a firearm. Mr. Albright was prohibited from possessing a firearm. During the arrest of Mr. Albright, police body cameras and in-squad video evidence shows PPPD officers conducting an in-custody search of Mr. Albright. The video shows that Mr. Albright was handcuffed behind his back and resisting officers who were attempting to search him.
During that search, PPPD officers did not detect a weapon or other contraband and Mr. Albright was placed into the rear passenger compartment of a police squad and secured with a seatbelt. Due to Mr. Albright’s resistive behaviors during arrest and the officers’ suspicions that Mr. Albright may have had hidden drugs on his person, a second officer was assigned to assist with the transport.
During the transport from the location of the arrest to the Kenosha County Jail Intake Facility, video evidence shows Mr. Albright maneuvering himself in the prisoner compartment of the squad. He made repeated comments about not feeling well and that his handcuffs were causing him pain. At one point, Mr. Albright can be observed in the video removing his seatbelt. Moments later, Mr. Albright can be seen retrieving a handgun from inside his shorts then positioning himself in the back seat and firing one shot from the handgun, striking himself in the head. Transporting officers immediately summoned emergency personnel to the scene just outside the prisoner entrance to the Kenosha County Jail. Mr. Albright was pronounced deceased at the scene by Kenosha Fire Department Rescue personnel.
As is mandated by State law, the investigation of this in-custody death was turned over to an outside agency, in this case the Racine County Sheriff’s Office. Two officers involved in the search and one additional officer involved in the transport of Mr. Albright were placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation and were eventually brought back to restricted duty, to do limited work within the Police Department. At this time the officers on leave, Officer Brandon Matz, Officer Allison Gorman and Officer Joshua Girdaukas have been restored to full duty.
An internal review has been ordered to be conducted to determine if PPPD policies and procedures were adhered to, and if any discipline, training, or equipment adjustments are needed.
Jacob was a troubled man with a history of drug abuse and violence. His criminal record began in the early 2000’s continuing to the day of his death. He has an arrest and conviction record of:
Felony Burglary of Dwelling
Felony Bail Jumping
Criminal Damage to Property
Receiving Stolen Property
Felony Possession of Cocaine
Unlawful Use of Phone for Threats of Harm
Felon In Possession of a Firearm
Felony Aiding/Harboring a Felon
Mr. Albright was out on bond for a Felony case of Physical Abuse of an elderly Person – Bodily Harm. He posted a $5,000 cash bond on June 28, 2023. He was facing more felony bail-jumping charges as well as weapons charges per Pleasant Prairie Police.
Below is DA Graveley’s letter exonerating the officers.