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State dismisses all Cass County charges against Denison Police Officer Bradley Wendt

From The Smart Shopper Denison Published on December 6, 2016

All charges lodged by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) against Denison Police Officer Bradley Wendt were dismissed on Tuesday, Nov. 29th by Cass County Magistrate Judge Karen Mallender. Related charges against another defendant, Donald Kinzie, were also dismissed.

The charges stemmed from Mr. Wendt’s arrest after alleged violations occurred in Cass and Audubon Counties on January 10, 2015. Two other men hunting with Mr. Wendt were also charged with multiple violations. They are Dustin Hansen of Adair and Donald Kinzie of Stuart.

According to a DNR news release issued on December 17, 2015, Mr. Wendt was charged with “two counts illegal take of deer-use of motor vehicle; two counts illegal take of deer-use of two-way communications; three counts trespass while deer hunting; illegal attempt to take deer-use of motor vehicle; illegal attempt to take deer-use of twoway communications and reckless use of a firearm causing property damage.” Similar charges were lodged against Mr. Kinzie. Those charges were all in Cass County.

One of the trespassing charges for Mr. Wendt occurred in Audubon County. The charges were filed on December 9, 2015.

According to the Court Order dismissing the charges, both Mr. Wendt and Mr. Kinzie appeared in court with their attorneys. The State of Iowa was represented by Cass County Attorney David Wiederstein.

Upon direct and cross examination of the State’s first witness, Mr. Wiederstein approached the bench and requested that all charges be dismissed, which the judge did.

All costs for the matter were assessed to the State of Iowa.

Following the charges being filed, Mr. Wendt was placed on paid administrative leave as a Denison Police Officer pending outcome of the charges, according to a December 21, 2015 story in the Carroll Daily Times Herald. Sometime later when one of the charges (reckless use of a firearm) was learned to be an aggravated misdemeanor, he was placed on unpaid leave by the City of Denison. That level of charge can result in prison sentences up to two years, or fines up to $6,250. That charge was among those dismissed.

Mr. Wendt has subsequently filed two lawsuits against the City of Denison. One, filed on May 3, 2016 alleges privacy violations having to do with the illegal use of his driver license photo by former Police Chief John Emswiler on a lewd and harassing image the chief used on the Internet to intimidate Mr. Wendt. The other was filed on November 7th, against the City and John Emswiler, citing violations of whistleblower protection under state and federal laws, as well as violations of his First Amendment rights, because of the image matter with the Police Chief as well as retaliation against him by the Police Chief after Mr. Wendt reported what he believed to be an illegal residential break-in by the Police Chief to the State Ombudsman’s office in October 2015.

When Mr. Wendt applied for and was offered a job as a police officer for the City of Adair, he needed a document approving Secondary Employment from the City of Denison to allow him to accept that position. That has been denied.

Since the charges were dismissed and were the reason he was put on leave, Mr. Wendt has asked for his job as a police officer to be reinstated but has been rebuffed by Mayor Daniel Leinen as well as Police Chief Dan Schaffer. No decision about this has been announced as of the time this story was written.

Aaron Hamrock, partner with McCarthy & Hamrock, PC in West Des Moines who defended Mr. Wendt, said last week, “My firm appreciates the fact that Mr. Wendt trusted us to defend him against these allegations by Cass County. We are very pleased to see these charges dismissed so we can see Mr. Wendt returned to being known as “Officer Wendt” with the Denison police department.”

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