A woman charged with assaulting a Superior police officer  had her charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor at a hearing on Friday in Douglas County Court.
Natasha Lancour was charged with felony battery of an officer in a Jan. 5 incident outside a Superior bar. Lancour, who is black, in turn accused police officer George Gothner with racially motivated brutality. A police dash cam video shows the pair scuffling, and Gothner punching her three times.
This exchange came a few minutes later in the squad car:
Gothner: “Can I tell you something? You see this here? Your whole actions were captured on camera.”
Lancour: “Exactly. Exactly. Your actions? Your number one actions?”
Gothner: “Yeah, your number one action of hitting me first, okay?
Lancour: “That’s not normal, sweetie. Keep it real though. They were not normal … I don't give even a f---, I'm right.”
Gothner: “You're not right, so shut up.”
Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse began an internal investigation. When the video went viral, causing strong public reaction, and a cell phone video emerged, LaGesse turned the investigation over to the state Division of Criminal Investigations.
The NAACP and the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee , which memorializes a 1920 lynching in Duluth, Minn., rallied behind Lancour. The memorial committee released this statement on Thursday condemning the police action:
“No woman is safe from police abuse if the behavior of Officer George Gothner is accepted as legitimate police behavior. In our defense of Natasha Lancour, we send a message that no one, particularly our mothers and daughters, should live in fear of the police in Superior.”
Lancour said she’s grateful for the support. “I’m one of many faces of those whose rights were violated and this support system means a lot to me,” she said.
Gothner remains on paid leave, a move LaGesse said is not a disciplinary action.
Correction: The radio version of this story mentioned a Clayton Jackson McGhie Lynching Memorial Committee. The actual name of the committee is the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee.