A marriage got off to a rocky start Thursday and a Wauwatosa police officer paid the price for trying to bring peace to the union.
The officer suffered a concussion that will keep him off patrol for two weeks when an out-of-control bridegroom lunged at him and knocked him to the pavement outside Mayfair Mall, police reports say.
At 4:15 p.m., the officer was called to the Applebee’s restaurant at Mayfair in response to a family fight. He found a 42-year-old West Allis man at a table with a woman and three children, yelling loudly and profanely in the crowded restaurant.
It turned out that the man and woman had just gotten married hours before and were celebrating the event at the restaurant. The children all belonged to the new bride, and the oldest, a 15-year-old girl, had gotten into an argument with her new stepfather because she disapproved of the marriage.
The suspect was cursing and threatening her, while Applebee’s staff was moving an estimated 40 customers to the other side of the dining room. The Wauwatosa officer, along with two officers from Mayfair Public Safety, could not get the man to calm down, and he in fact began to threaten them, saying, “Let’s take this outside.”
The officer agreed to do so to restore peace to the restaurant. But outside, the man continued to curse his daughter-in-law for “disrespecting” him, and told the officers he was a “cage fighter” and would not only resist them but attack.
He was successfully handcuffed, but then began to lunge violently, trying to head-butt his captors, and he brought the two Mayfair officers down with him on top of the police officer, who smacked the back of his head on the concrete walk.
The three officers were finally able to roll the suspect facedown, and with the arrival of another Wauwatosa officer got him into a squad car.
At the station during booking, the suspect began to make homicidal statements about the girl, saying he would now have to kill her.
A records check showed the man was already on probation for disorderly conduct. He claimed he was a paranoid schizophrenic and had gone off his medication to “clear my head for the wedding.”
He was first sent to Milwaukee County Psychiatric Crisis Services for evaluation and then sent to the County Jail on a probation hold.
During booking, the arresting officer said he began to notice his health deteriorating, feeling dizzy and noticing his vision was blurring. He was relieved and taken to Wisconsin Heart Hospital, where a CT scan showed he had a concussion. He was restricted from active patrol for two weeks.