The investigation into the questionable arrest from a controversial Kenosha Police officer has been completed. The allegations made by the women were unfounded, according to Internal Affairs Lt. Leo Viola, but during KPD’s investigation they did identify some issues with Det. Torres’ response to the situation. KPD administration recommended additional training for Det. Torres. “He received the training and we feel the recommendations that were made to him will be considered in his future interactions with the public, ” said Vola.
Kenosha Police Officer Pablo “Paul” Torres has one of the department’s longest personnel files. His file was obtained by KCE about 6 or 7 years ago. He has been accused of excessive force dozens of times and mostly exonerated for the complaints. He has universally been classified as a hot-head, bad-tempered, and quick-to-go-hands-on. He has killed a man, and attempted to kill a suicidal man, both close in time to one another.
On September 7, 2023, a Kenosha woman posted a video of an interaction she had of Torres from August 7, 2023. The video shows Torres walking down the stairs of an apartment building thanking a witness for his cooperation. The woman asked Torres for his names, and before she finishes the question, he says “T….O….R….R…E….S.” She seemed to not understand his answer and asks again. “T….O….R….R…E….S” he says again. “Can I ask for your badge number?” the woman asks next. Torres tells the woman that if she doesn’t get out of his way, he would arrest her, about three seconds later, he tells the woman that she is under arrest. He then puts his hands on the woman and a struggle seemingly begins.
The video then cuts out. According to the woman’s Facebook commentary that she posted with the video:
“On August 7th, 2023 I was placed in a choked hold, slammed against a wall, giving me a concussion, and wrongfully arrested by a Kenosha Police Detective.
On that Monday, I woke up and went to sit on my porch. Out of nowhere, a single police officer approached me, asking me if I had been there the night before as there had been a robbery across the street. I answered him that I had not been home nor heard of anything. He walks past me to ring my neighbor’s doorbells when he notices I had left the front door to my apartment building propped open, and so he lets himself in. I walk behind him and told him that I think he needs a key to be in here, to which he abruptly responds that he does not and that my apartment building was public property. Feeling scared for letting him into my building, I started recording him from down the bottom of the stairs as he spoke to my neighbor. As he walked down, I stood up and moved away from the stairs, visibly recording him with my phone. I asked for his name and badge number. He spelled out his last name, but when I asked for his badge number he responded by saying that “I do not get to stand in his way” and that “if I don’t move out of his way he would arrest me”. I asked once more and he quickly grabbed my hands and arrested me.
This officer used deadly force by putting me in a chokehold, slamming me against the wall giving me a concussion, and forcefully arresting me. The entire arrest happened in less than thirty seconds. My neighbor, who had spoken with this officer less than a minute before, comes down and sees me in a chokehold by this officer and yells at him to let me go. So the officer arrests him too.
We sit on the curb waiting for backup to arrive, as the officer who arrested us was there by himself. They take us both in the same squad car to the building, and my neighbor immediately notices they take us in through a different door than normal. They take us into their main office area and lead us both to separate interrogation cells. It felt wrong and surreal to see their work cubicles, the pictures of their family and personal belongings. I knew what they were doing to us was not normal procedure. I wait in this interrogation cell, a small brick room with nothing in it but a small metal bench, a security camera, and etchings on the metal door. The officer who arrested me eventually brings me into an interrogation room where I am read my rights and asked to sign a paper. I answer a few questions then ask to speak with an attorney. They bring me back to the interrogation cell where I wait for hours to be released. I’m finally told I will be let go, but that they have to keep my phone for “evidence”. But if I sign a piece of paper and give them my passcode to send himself the video, I can go home with it that day. Needing my phone for work and personal safety, I sign the paper and give him my passcode. He comes back to the cell to show me that he sent himself the video without me present. Before they let me go, they take me in a squad car around the building to the sallyport to take me into the jail for pictures and fingerprints. But upon arrival, the officer is told that if I wasn’t a “DV” case, that I’d need to have my pictures taken elsewhere. So they bring me back to the same building to take my mugshot and fingerprints. They ask me to verify my name, birthdate, and where I was born. Thinking it was routine, I answer it all truthfully. I’m finally released and driven home by my dear neighbors, who saw the whole situation and waited for me outside the station. If you’re reading this, thank you both so much from the bottom of my heart. You are my family.
I finally get back to my apartment hours later and run upstairs to see if my neighbor had also been released. I see his door slightly ajar and hear commotion inside so I start recording asking who was in there. A different detective answers, saying it was KPD and that they did not know when my neighbor would be released. I wait outside his door to shortly after see two officers walk out with my neighbor’s computer, hard drive, and TV in hand. I race back to the station and ask everyone there where my neighbor is and when he would be released. No one can find him in the system and am told to go to the next office over, and even up to the jail to ask if he was there. Not knowing what else to do, I go back home to tell my family what happened and wait for my neighbor. My neighbor is finally released three hours after me. He tells me of how they kept him in the single interrogation cell for hours with no pants, because the string in his pants were considered a threat. He was also refused temporary jail pants.
We wait days after to be served with the charges of “obstructing an officer” and “resisting arrest”. My neighbors calls every few days to see if he can finally pick up his items, to which he finally retrieved a week later. When he picks up his technology, an officer assures him that neither of us would be charged.
I will never forget the faces of my friends when I told them they had asked me, multiple times, where I was born. They looked me in the eyes and told me they had never been asked that themselves, that it was not a standard question to ask. It was then that I realized that the officer who arrested me had profiled me and was looking to see if he could deport me to cover up his mistakes.
KPD Detective Pablo Torres asked me where I was born, to see if he could deport me.”