A prosecutor charged a Wisconsin Department of Justice agent Thursday with reckless endangerment in the nonfatal shooting of an unarmed man during a Madison traffic stop last winter.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne charged DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mark Wagner with second-degree reckless endangerment using a dangerous weapon, according to online court records.
The charge stems from the Feb. 3 shooting of Quadren Wilson, who survived. Wilson is Black and Wagner is white, and Wilson’s family has said they believe race was a factor in the shooting. The incident occurred a little more than a year and a half after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, during a domestic disturbance in Kenosha in August 2020. That shooting led to several nights of sometimes violent protests.
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Wagner would face up to 10-and-a-half years in prison if convicted. His attorney, listed in online court records as Michael Steinle, didn’t immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment that was left at his office.
Wilson, 38, was released on extended supervision in February 2020 after serving a little more than a year in prison for second-degree reckless endangerment. The state Department of Corrections issued a warrant for Wilson on the morning he was shot for violating the conditions of his release. He was wanted for allegedly dealing fentanyl to a man found dead in a restaurant bathroom in Blooming Grove in April 2021.
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Wilson was driving on the outskirts of Madison when officers from multiple jurisdictions slammed their vehicles into his car and opened fire on him as he sat behind the wheel, according to the sheriff’s office and Wilson’s family.
Wilson’s brother, Mane Morris, said authorities shot his brother five times in the back as his brother was raising his hands and offering no resistance. Authorities contend that he was resisting arrest.
Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, whose agency led the investigation into the shooting, said two weeks after the incident that investigators hadn’t found any evidence suggesting Wilson was armed.
Two state Justice Department agents, Wagner and Nathan Peskie, fired their weapons during the arrest, according to Barrett. He didn’t say whether either agent’s rounds struck Wilson, however. Online court records did not show any charges against Peskie as of Thursday morning.
Wilson pleaded guilty in May, about three months after he was shot, to manufacturing narcotics with intent to deliver and cocaine possession. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
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Attorney General Josh Kaul, who oversees the Justice Department, declined to comment, saying he didn’t want to impact the case as it works its way through the judicial system. He did say the agency was “evaluating this matter internally,” but he didn’t elaborate.
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