Roger Hoeppner was in a dispute with the city about tractors on his property. The police came to collect an $80,000 fine with a BearCat and 24 officers.
Earlier this month, nestled between the antique tractors he restores and the wood pallets he uses for his business, were 24 police officers, and, eventually, the armored truck.
Marathon County sheriff’s captain Greg Bean declined to answer multiple requests for comment, but told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the large police presence was called in because law enforcement officials expected they would have to seize large equipment.
And precisely how was a BearCat supposed to help move this large equipment? Was it going to tow tractors behind it?
He also defended the decision to use the armored vehicle because he said it can save time, money and increases safety in such situations.
“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” Bean told the Journal Sentinel.
So, the police would rather use a big vehicle to scare and intimidate people instead of actually doing their jobs.
Hoeppner has for years been embroiled in a legal battle with the city of Stettin, which has just over 2,500 residents, according to the 2010 US census.
The city sued him in 2008 because of the state of his property, which sits off of a major highway and is packed with wood pallets and land equipment. They complained again in 2010, saying he had not complied with an order to clean up the property, at which point a judge intervened. The city did not approve of adjustment he made to his land and in 2011 a judge authorized the town to take away some of his items. A final judgement was issued in April 2013, with Hoeppner receiving a $500 fine every day he did not comply. He lost an appeal in March – bringing the total he owed to $80,000.
The same day as the police intervention, Hoeppner paid out the sum, with officers escorting him to the bank he said he has been going to for 50 years. He said the incident depleted his 401k and caused his wife Marjorie to go to the hospital because of distress. “The United States is not supposed to terrorize its hardworking people,” Hoeppner said.
“I just don’t understand why a dollar and a half of postage on an envelope that I would have had to pick up at the Wausau post office wouldn’t have done the same thing as 24 officers and an armored vehicle,” Hoeppner told the Guardian.
No one else does either, sir.