Badger Project Files Records Lawsuit Against Wausau Police Department
Updated: Jun 22, 2022
Suit seeks details of sexual harassment investigation that led to officer resignation
The Badger Project, represented by the Wisconsin Transparency Project, has filed a lawsuit in Marathon County Circuit Court seeking to compel the release of records related to investigation into sexual harassment committed by former police Lieutenant Andrew Hartwig.
The Badger Project is a nonpartisan journalism nonprofit that focuses on and investigates government, politics, and related matters in Wisconsin. It has published a series of stories about law enforcement officers who had been fired or forced out or who had resigned from one law enforcement job but then were rehired in another.
Peter Cameron, an independent journalist and managing editor of The Badger Project, learned from the Wisconsin DOJ that Lieutenant Hartwig had resigned after an internal investigation. He made a record request to the Wausau Police Department for records of that investigation. After waiting four months, he received a heavily redacted copy of an “Internal Investigative Report.” While the Report concluded that “Lieut. Hartwig engaged in sexual harassment which included verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature,” the majority of the report was heavily redacted. The redactions make it impossible for anyone to know what Hartwig actually did. Despite his record, Hartwig was hired by the Cadott Police Department after leaving Wausau’s.
“Court after court has rejected redactions like this,” explained Attorney Tom Kamenick, President and Founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project. “The public deserves to know when public servants engage in misconduct, especially when those servants are in positions of power, like police officers.”