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Family of Appleton man shot and killed by police sues city, officer

Lawsuit says use of deadly force in 2022 was 'unnecessary, unreasonable and excessive'

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Police lights flash
Lights on a parked police vehicle flash at scene of a fatal shooting in Philadelphia, Friday, April 28, 2023. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2022 is suing the city of Appleton and the officer who fired the gun.

The federal lawsuit was filed in the Wisconsin Eastern District Court last Friday. The suit argues officer Bryce Rudebeck used excessive force when he shot Daniel Pesavento in his driveway in August 2022.

Officers responded to a domestic violence call, which led to a standoff between police and Pesavento, who had a gun and was making suicidal comments, according to the Outagamie County District Attorney’s office.

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At the time, Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis found Rudebeck’s use of force was justified following an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice

But the lawsuit said Rudebeck’s use of deadly force was “unnecessary, unreasonable and excessive” because Pesavento was pointing the gun at himself and “did not pose an imminent threat of death or bodily harm to Rudebeck or anyone else” when he was shot.

The family is suing Rudebeck and the city for excessive force. Pesavento’s wife, Alexandra, and his daughter, who was two-years-old when the shooting happened, are the plaintiffs in the case.

They asked for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as “any other relief” the court finds appropriate. 

As of Thursday, neither the city nor Rudebeck had responded to the lawsuit in court filings and no hearings had been set in the case.

Appleton Police Chief Polly Olson said via email the city had not been served with a lawsuit as of Thursday morning. She declined to comment further.

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