Off-duty Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Willmann approaches photographer LaTasha Lux before striking her on July 5.
Off-duty Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Willmann approaches photographer LaTasha Lux before striking her on July 5. (Photo by LaTasha Lux/provided by Attorney Nicole Muller)

Charges filed almost eight months after assaults caught on camera.

Milwaukee County prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges against Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Willmann, who assaulted two photographers almost eight months ago during a downtown Milwaukee march while he was off-duty.

Willmann, 38, faces misdemeanor charges of battery and disorderly conduct, which carry a combined maximum penalty of a year in prison and $11,000 in fines. Earlier this month, MPD gave Willmann a 45-day suspension to be served in 15-day increments.

Willmann attacked photographers Sean Kafer and LaTasha Lux on July 5, 2020 as they walked through downtown Milwaukee with a group of protesters from The Peoples Revolution, a Milwaukee-area social justice group.

The off-duty officer was at a restaurant when his wife confronted the passing marchers and threw a drink at them. As Kafer and Lux took photos, Willmann attacked them, video of the incident shows.

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The photographers’ attorney, Nicole Muller, told UpNorthNews in July that Lux suffered a concussion and a split lip from the attack, and Kafer’s camera suffered about $700 in damage. Muller said Lux and Kafer were held for about five hours and asked to give multiple statements to the police. 

State Reps. David Bowen and Jonathan Brostoff, both Milwaukee Democrats, were on the scene after the assault. They told UpNorthNews at the time that the responding officers appeared to be trying to cover up the incident. The officers refused to cite Willmann for the incident unless Kafer and Lux also accepted a fine, according to Bowen, Brostoff, and Muller.

The Milwaukee Police Department in July denied that officers were protecting Willmann and said that the department’s Internal Affairs office was investigating all officers who responded to the scene. Department spokesperson Sgt. Efrain Cornejo said Thursday that none of the responding officers were ultimately disciplined.