By Brandi Makuski
A Stevens Point man will be tried before a jury after police say he repeatedly took photographs of people without their permission in public.
Scott Wenger, 46, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer after being arrested at the 2014 Art in the Park. Attendees at the Pfiffner Pioneer Park event complained to police that Wenger was acting suspiciously and taking their photos without asking.
According to the criminal complaint, police attempted to question Wenger at the park about the photography, but Wenger responded only by videotaping the officers and repeatedly asking, “Am I being detained?” Wenger’s voice became louder each time he asked the question, and eventually began to yell at the officers, according to the complaint. After several moments a large crowd had begun to notice, and police took him into custody for disorderly conduct.
Wenger resisted heavily during the arrest, even jumping from the back of the squad car to scream for passersby to videotape what he called “police abuse”.
According to police records, officers had previously responded to a similar complaint about Wenger photographing adults and children without their consent at Iverson Park.
Wenger’s lawyer, local defense attorney Jared Redfield, filed a pair of motions last October requesting the case be dismissed on the grounds police had violated Wenger’s First and Fourth Amendment rights.
“The defendant’s behavior does not fall under the scope of disorderly conduct…the behavior cited for arrest is protected by the Constitution of the United States,” Redfield’s brief read in part.
Judge Thomas Flugaur dismissed the charge of disorderly conduct, saying it would be “difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt”. The charge of resisting an officer was upheld.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Constable said she expects Redfield will appeal the ruling.
Wenger’s two-day jury trial is expected begin June 29 at 8 AM.