DeForest Village Board to file complaint regarding police chief

DEFOREST (WKOW) -- The DeForest Village Board will file a complaint with the Police Commission regarding Chief Daniel Furseth.

The board voted 4-2 late Tuesday after a regularly-scheduled meeting where they heard concerns from some members of the community.

Furseth was caught on video making derogatory comments about a group of African-American men. The video was taken years ago, before he was police chief, but surfaced recently. Furseth was put on administrative leave after he let the village know about the video.

The village board decided to file a complaint with the DeForest Police Commission after hearing from three people who asked members to send a message of inclusion and respect to minorities.

One of those who spoke was Greg Jones, the President of Dane County's chapter of the NAACP. He is also the co-chair for the "Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration." During the meeting, Jones addressed the board, saying "The actions that the chief demonstrated do not demonstrate who and what this community is. The only responsible measure to that damage is termination of his employment with this municipality."

Jones, along with the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association, denounced Furseth's actions earlier in the day. The police chiefs association issued a press release it said was in response to the Furseth situation on Tuesday.

Jones told 27 News in an interview, "When you think about a police chief, you think about a person who is a face of the criminal justice system at that level in that municipality. And for that person to feel comfortable enough to engage in that kind of behavior, use those words, and really do a caricature of African American men, it's highly disappointing."

The police commission has the authority to fire Furseth if it chooses. Chief Furseth's lawyer, Dan Bach, tells 27 News the chief wants to keep his job, saying Furseth felt "There is no basis for which he should resign and he wants to go back to work."

The village board took into consideration a report on the investigation into Furseth's actions which found some potential red flags that could indicate some implicit bias into how the department operates, but noted the red flags were not proof of racial bias and needed more analysis.

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