Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - Over 20 people packed into the Douglas County Courtroom in Superior Friday to show support for Natasha Lancour at her preliminary hearing.
Supporter Scot Bol says he's been concerned about police brutality ever since video was released last year that captured Duluth Police Officer Richard Jouppi allegedly punching a man in a wheelchair at a Northland detox center.
"I had been very concerned about Anthony Jackson being beaten in a wheelchair in Duluth, so I was very concerned [and] my radar is up right now," said Bol. "I wanted to come and be supportive for Natasha."
Lancour was originally charged with felony battery of an officer following the altercation caught on dash cam video with Superior Police Officer George Gothner outside the Keyport Bar. Lancour alleges that excessive force was used during her arrest.
On Friday, District Attorney Dan Blank downgraded the felony charge to resisting arrest: a class A misdemeanor.
Blank says he formed doubts about the felony charge after he viewed the dash cam video—something he didn't have during the initial formulation of the charges.
"But clearly what comes front and center [and] what sends quite a message is what we saw on the hood of the squad car," said Blank, outside the courtroom Friday.
Blank says this case could change the way Superior Police relay case information to the DA's office.
"If there's going to be something like physical activity between an officer and an arrested party," said Blank, "maybe we should have that video before we make a decision."
Meanwhile, 28–year–old Lancour and her attorney say they're pleased with the downgraded charge, but still entered a not guilty plea on Friday.
"Right now I'm looking at a misdemeanor of resisting arrest, and I would like that dropped too," said Lancour outside the courtroom, "because I feel like I was wrongfully arrested, and that my rights were violated."
Lancour says the felony would've put her goal of obtaining her Certified Nursing Assistant degree on hold.
"But right now I'm going to go forward with it, and I'm going to get my degree," said Lancour.
Blank and Lancour's attorney also decided to delay making a decision on the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge she is also facing until after the state–led investigation into Officer George Gothner's use of force.
Lancour's resisting arrest misdemeanor charge comes with the possibility of a nine month prison sentence, and a $10,000 fine.
Lancour's next court hearing is scheduled for April, when the state investigation is expected to be completed.