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Crime-and-courts
Park High School incident
RPD officer charged with excessive force in Park High incident

RACINE — Charges have been filed against a Racine police officer who is accused of using excessive force against a Park High School student in 2015.

Brinelle Nabors, 37, made his initial appearance in court Thursday. He is charged with a felony count of misconduct in public office and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct.

According to the criminal complaint:

Nabors reported that on Nov. 20, 2015, he and another RPD officer attempted to take a 14-year-old student into custody because they believed he had a bottle containing a mixture of drugs and juice or alcohol.

While arresting the student, Nabors said the teen was “actively resisting,” yelling and making threats, pulling away and swinging his head as if to strike Nabors.

On Jan. 25, a special agent with the Wisconsin Department Justice of Criminal Investigation interviewed another Racine police officer, who said he watched Nabors and another officer escorting the student in question down the hallway in handcuffs.

The officer alleged that he did not see the student exhibit “any physically threatening body language” as he walked toward Nabors. The witnessing officer also reported that when the group was about 15 feet away from him, he saw Nabors punch the student one time with a closed fist to the right side of his face and the student’s knees buckled underneath him.

After that, the witness said Nabors used his left arm to hold the student up and guided him into the locker, something that he consistent with a “wall stun.”

The student denied threatening Nabors and said he was asking Nabors to pull his pants up. The student claimed to have injuries to his jaw, the back of his head, chin, back, neck and left ear from the incident.

Outside review

A Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office attorney reviewed the surveillance video of Nabors escorting the student. The attorney claimed he did not see any instance of the student pulling away or swinging his head toward Nabors or any evidence that justified Nabors to use the level of force he used.

The attorney noted that a police officer striking a handcuffed person in custody without proper justification is “an excess of the lawful authority of a law enforcement officer.”

After the incident, the student involved was arrested and faced criminal charges, which were subsequently dismissed. In 2016, The City of Racine settled a federal lawsuit filed by the student for $400,000.

Nabors was placed on administrative leave from The Racine Police Department shortly after the incident. During the approximately 2½ years that Nabors has been on leave, he has reportedly received compensation of $160,985.88, according to city records The Journal Times received through an open records request.

Initial appearance

During his initial appearance Thursday, Nabors’ attorney Patrick Cafferty objected to probable cause in the case, asking for the case to be dismissed, but Racine County Court Commissioner John Bjelajac ruled that probable cause existed.

Kenosha Assistant District Attorney and special prosecutor James Kraus asked the court for a signature bond in the case and no contact with the victim.

Cafferty asked that Nabors have a low signature bond, citing that Nabors is a military veteran and six-year veteran of the Police Department with no criminal record.

Nabors joined the Racine Police Department in 2012, following in the footsteps of his father, Maurice Nabors. Brinelle Nabors had previously been a student at Park High School and previously worked as a school liaison officer along with his father.

Nabors’ signature bond was set for $10,000. Conditions of Nabor’s bond include that he not have contact with the student or perform law enforcement activities at Park High School or any other school within the Racine Police Department’s jurisdiction.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23 at the county Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.

Nabors faces up to three years and six months in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000 for the misconduct in public office charge, up to nine months in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for the battery charge and to 90 days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,00 for the disorderly conduct charge.

When asked about the status of Nabors’ employment on Thursday, Racine Police Chief Howell said in an email, “We just received, and are in the process of reviewing, the charging documents associated with this case. This information will be shared with the PFC (Police and Fire Commission) and the City Attorney, after which, next steps will be determined.”


Local
New initiative announced
Foxconn, partners announce Smart City, Smart Future initiative

SOMERS — Better workplaces, better living and better travel are among the goals of the Smart City, Smart Future initiative that Foxconn Technology Group and its higher-education partners announced Thursday morning at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Foxconn is committing $1 million over the next three years to this initiative, which will start this fall with the goal of tapping talent at public and private universities and colleges.

The Smart City, Smart Future initiative will include a competition, which will offer winners and award recipients prizes, financial awards, and technical support, in addition to a platform to attract investments to support them in bringing their ideas to life.

The competition will look for innovative ways and harness technology to enhance quality of life and working environments, inspire attractive streetscapes, transportation networks and living spaces, and promote sustainable economic and demographic growth.

More details are to be announced during a Smart Futures Summit planned for Aug. 7 at UW-Parkside.

Alan Yeung, Foxconn director of U.S. strategic initiatives and president of FEWI Development Corp., announced the new initiative, and Foxconn’s $1 million commitment, Thursday at UW-Parkside’s Bedford Hall performing arts center.

He was joined by leaders from the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities — three key partners in the initiative. Those organizations represent a talent pipeline of more than 350,000 students, staff and faculty across Wisconsin.

Also speaking at the event were UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford, Gateway Technical College President and CEO Bryan Albrecht, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Sec. and CEO Mark Hogan and Marquette University President Michael Lovell.

“Wisconsin has excellent undergraduate and post-graduate talent,” Yeung stated in a news release that accompanied the event. “We want to work with our partners in higher education to develop various programs such as the Smart City, Smart Future initiative to foster, energize and retain talent in Wisconsin.”

“Wisconsin’s talented workforce with strong work ethic is one of the reasons that attracted Foxconn to invest in the state,” Yeung stated. “As a long-term partner to the Wisconsin community, we look forward to doing our part to nurture talent in strategic sectors that will support the state’s transformation into a global high-tech hub.”

Collaboration

Smart City, Smart Future will continue the collaboration that’s helped get the Foxconn project to this point, the speakers said. In this case it will be a collaboration between the company, private and public universities and technical colleges statewide.

“Why are we doing this?” Yeung asked rhetorically, “… we’re doing this because we want to seek out the best ideas for smart, connected systems and cities throughout Wisconsin.

The competition for great ideas will offer the $1 million, over three years, in prizes, awards, stipends and also financial support and investment, Yeung explained.

“Besides supporting participants,” he said, “we will provide a platform to turn ideas into solutions, to turn a business plan, perhaps, into businesses and products.”

Yeung continued, “The competition will look for ways, and harness technology, to enhance quality of life and working environments, inspire attractive landscapes, transportation networks and living quarters, and promote sustainable economic and demographic growth.”

Ideas for smart cities could vary throughout the state, Yeung said. “If you live in La Crosse, Eau Claire or Green Bay, your concept, your idea for what a smart city or smart community may or may not be the same as those who live in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Kenosha.”

Gathering brain power

“So, why are we doing this?” Yeung said. “We’re doing this because of talent.”

Yeung said the collaboration wants to tap into the thousands of young people with talent within higher education, focusing on that early concept about smart buildings, smart cities and smart communities.

“But we do not have a monopoly on good ideas — as my colleague Dr. Louis Woo has said,” Yeung said.

Woo is the special assistant to Foxconn founder, Chairman and CEO Terry Gou.

Yeung said Foxconn wants to turn good ideas that well up during the competition into better ways of living, working and traveling. “We want to foster, we want to energize, and we want to retain our talent in Wisconsin,” he said.

Foxconn believes a smart city “first and foremost must be about jobs,” Yeung said about economic development and about striking a balance between sustainable economic and demographic growth.

“We all ask the same question: Who’s going to pay for all of this?” Yeung said. “So, economic growth is important; sustainable growth is important.”

He also laid out several categories of the competition.

“They are not just for science majors, or engineers or technical geeks alone. Those are welcome. But we also would welcome liberal-arts majors,” Yueng said, drawing applause from many students in the audience. “For those of you who are writers, creative artists, musicians, we have a place for you.”

Smart-future categories

Yeung said Foxconn wants ideas that can come in different formats including on paper, posters, videos and photo essays, business plans and social-venture plans. The subjects could be “smart” buildings, citizenship, energy, governance, healthcare, infrastructure mobility and technology.

UW-Parkside’s Ford called the Smart City, Smart Future announcement “historic.”

“What should be truly transformational for students and faculty throughout Wisconsin,” Ford said, “is knowing that their ideas could be transformational in our communities for years and decades to come.”

Ford added, “Innovation is powerful — even more so when supported by emerging science and technology ecosystems the likes of which our state has not witnessed before.”

“Wisconsin’s talented workforce with strong work ethic is one of the reasons that attracted Foxconn to invest in the state.” Alan Yeung, Foxconn director of U.S. strategic initiatives

Crime-and-courts
Police investigating 'suspicious' death

RACINE — Police are investigating a suspicious death that was reported Thursday morning.

At about 10:08 a.m. Thursday, the Racine Police Department was advised of the death of a female that was reportedly suspicious in nature, according to a news release issued Thursday evening.

Police said the deceased female was located in the 1000 block of North Memorial Drive.

The Police Department’s Major Crimes Squad was activated and responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.

As of Thursday evening no further information was being released, “as this is an active and ongoing investigation,” police stated.

Police investigators are interested in any additional information that anyone may have about this crime. Any witnesses, or citizens with information, are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330, or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text message should begin with RACS.


Local
Border battle
Illinois Senate to get involved in Foxconn squabble with state

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After the Illinois Attorney General and the Walker Administration traded threats of possible legal action regarding the Foxconn Technology Group project, it looks as if the Illinois State Senate might now get involved.

On Thursday, the Environmental and Conversion Committee for the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution urging “Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water resources, the potential flooding, and other ecological impacts from this development.”

The resolution cites Foxconn’s plans to draw 7 million gallons of water per day out of Lake Michigan as having a possible negative impact on Illinois residents and it states “there are questions being raised about whether the diversion request meets the definition and intent of the Great Lakes Compact requirement that water be used for a ‘Group of largely residential customers.’”

The Illinois resolution is sponsored by state senators Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, and Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, two legislators from Lake County, which borders Kenosha County. It has been sent to the Secretary of the Senate to be scheduled to be discussed on the floor.

In April, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved the City of Racine’s water diversion application, which was made in large part to support Foxconn. In the past, DNR officials have stated of the 7 million gallons of water that will be diverted, Foxconn plans to use 5.8 million gallons and of that is expected to treat and return 4.3 million gallons to the Racine Wastewater Treatment Plant to be returned to the lake.

The excess water drawn from the lake is expected to be used for other companies that may come to the area.

In a statement, Bush said allowing Foxconn to “skirt environmental protections is irresponsible and short-sighted.”

“The environmental impacts don’t stop at the Wisconsin border,” Bush said. “Lake County residents will be affected, but because Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations, we don’t know the full impact.”

In a statement Morrison said she urges the state to “reconsider this short-sighted proposal.”

“We cannot jeopardize the health of our population in favor of one manufacturer and in doing so roll back decades of hard-fought environmental protections,” Morrison said.

Air concerns

On May 4, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said her office plans to file a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency saying the project should be designated “non-attainment,” which would cause Foxconn to install more stringent pollution control equipment.

In a response, the Walker administration stated it believes Wisconsin should be in attainment.

Amy Hasenberg, press secretary for Walker, said the state has “cut emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by 50 percent since 2002.”

“Pollutants are largely coming from Chicago, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana,” Hasenberg said. “Our state should not be penalized for issues we are not causing. We will take all necessary steps to protect our state’s interests. The State of Wisconsin will push back.”

“We urge Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water resources, the potential flooding, and other ecological impacts from this development.” Illinois State Senate Resolution 1600 regarding Foxconn