Wahpeton officer under investigation after viral video - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Wahpeton officer under investigation after viral video

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UPDATE Friday, May 13, 2011 by Emily Welker

The Wahpeton police chief says the internal investigation into a piece of viral video that may reveal police misconduct is taking a little longer than expected.

He says he hopes to have the matter of the arrest of 17-year-old Robert Wanek by Officer Dustin Hill cleared up by early next week.

The chief says he's not ready to share his preliminary findings until he's ready to issue a news release about the investigation. He expects that will be sometime Monday or Tuesday.


The Wahpeton, North Dakota police department is looking inward for answers about what really happened in the arrest of a Breckenridge, MN teenager on Friday.

The Youtube video the teen posted online appears to show officer Dustin Hill arresting the boy after he videotaped Hill on a public street. The vide has gone viral with more than one hundred fifty thousand hits. Police say it's sparked a lot of angry phone calls and messages from the public.

17-year old Robert Wanek posted Youtube video of what he says is his illegal arrest, for what the officer called interfering with a police investigation. Wanek says he was detained for about an hour, and his parents were never called, nor was he read his rights before being interviewed. He was eventually let go, but he says Hill's supervisor told him what he did wrong was making the officer angry.

The police chief says he's opened an investigation into whether or not Hill did something wrong. He says if that's the case, Hill could be reprimanded or even fired.

He says he shares the concern of callers who want to make sure this never happens again.

"What you've got to look at is, for every one of them out there who gets caught on tape doing something they're not supposed to, there's a hundred of them out there going above and beyond to do what's right," says Scott Thorsteinson, Wahpeton chief of police. 

There's a link here on our website to the Youtube video in its entirety. Wanek's video may have gotten many of its hits because it was originally posted as part of the website MNChange.org, a 9-11 conspiracy group to which he belongs.

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