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Judge Todd Bjerke told a La Crosse man he was lucky to be standing in his courtroom Friday as he charged him in connection with a fight involving a police officer and four men earlier this week.

Sean T. Suiter, 18, La Crosse, was charged Friday in La Crosse County Circuit Court with threatening a law enforcement officer, obstructing an officer and two counts of disorderly conduct for his part of a incident Wednesday night at the Days Inn in the town of Campbell.

According to the complaint:

Sean Suiter

Suiter

John Owens

John Owens

Suiter, along with Terrell Sanders, 19, Jacob Owens, 21, and John Owens, 23, were being loud and starting fights with hotel staff about 10:38 p.m. Wednesday, so a staff member called police.

A Campbell Police Department officer arrived to find the four men in the courtyard and Jacob Owens yelling, “Fight me, (n-word),” at the hotel general manager, who is white. The officer told Jacob Owens to stop yelling and grabbed his arm when he attempted to walk away.

John and Jacob Owens both began yelling at the officer for touching Jacob’s arm and Sanders and Suiters both approached the lone officer and began yelling profanities. The officer drew her Taser and pointed it at them, instructing them to back up, then told Jacob to get on the ground and John to back away from Jacob.

When they did not move, the officer holstered her Taser and knocked John to the ground, then used her Taser on Jacob, causing him to fall to the ground as well, while Sanders and Suiter continued to swear at her. Once she placed handcuffs on John and Jacob, Sanders reached toward her face, then pulled away when she blocked his wrist and ran. Meanwhile, Suiter began jumping up and down, yelling, “I will (expletive) kill you, (expletive). I will kill you. I can do what I want.”

Suiter is also accused of slapping the officer’s arm and threatening her again before a La Crosse police officer arrived to help. The La Crosse officer began to take Sanders into custody, and Sanders pulled away and continued to resist.

More officers arrived and all four were taken into custody.

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A fifth man was also present; however, he was trying to calm the situation, according to police. Jacob is also accused of breaking an air conditioning unit and threatening to rape both the hotel manager and the Campbell officer, according to the complaint.

“I read the complaint, and you’re lucky you were not just shot, straight up,” Bjerke told Suiter in court. “Most jurisdictions around the country, you probably would have been.”

Bjerke was hesitant, but followed the pretrial report recommendation and ordered a $2,000 signature bond for Suiter, saying, “I hope you learn from this.”

“I will, your honor,” Suiter said.

Jacob was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property and resisting an officer, and released on a $2,000 signature bond on the condition he abide by a curfew and not consume alcohol.

John was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. He was released on a $1,500 signature bond, prohibited from consuming alcohol and required to submit to alcohol testing.

Sanders was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing an officer and misdemeanor bail jumping, and released on a signature bond.


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Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(4) comments

JohnLihleOwens

This article isn’t even accurate of the complaint filed.

DMoney

*99.8%

DMoney

I'm not blaming anyone or anything outside of these men's behaviors. But I can't help but wonder, considering the apparent spike in violence towards police, if the past 5 years of cultural police bashing has contributed. Black lives matter, Kaepernick, national news coverage any time a police officer uses force against a person of color, etc. It builds an anti-police climate and might embolden the dumb and wreckless to be more violent.



Thank you for your service to our community, for any police officers who may stumble across this. 99.8 of you are amazing.

thomaslind949

I'll bet you we see these fine young men in the news again!

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