Brown Deer, Wi., police neglected to follow protocol and failed to protect the public last year when officers retreated from a standoff at Radcliffe Haughton’s home after he pointed what they thought was a rifle at his wife, police experts tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The failure to arrest Haughton during the 2011 standoff hurt authorities’ chances of holding him accountable before Sunday, when he shot seven women at a spa killing three, including his wife, who worked there. Experts were baffled by a police supervisor’s decision to withdraw after three officers saw Haughton point what appeared to be a rifle at his wife, Zina Haughton. The correct response to the standoff last year should have been to summon a SWAT team, take Haughton into custody, and seek felony charges, the experts said.
“You always err on the side of safety. If I’ve got even some speculation that there are firearms pointed in the direction of the victim and of law enforcement, I’m derelict in duty if I don’t make certain,” said David Thomas, program administrator for domestic violence education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “That’s insane. That’s just totally unacceptable.” “This guy committed a felony. In front of you. You can’t let this person stay outside of police custody. That is a brazen, brazen attack, pointing a gun at a person standing near police officers,” said David Klinger, a professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a specialist in police use of force. “They clearly had probable cause to believe he committed a crime. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”