Charges were filed against a Kenosha County sheriff’s deputy accused of falsifying procedures in arresting a suspect and possession of more than 13 grams of marijuana.
A summons was issued Wednesday for Brian J. Houtsinger, 32, of Kenosha, to appear before a judge on the charges Dec. 12 on the charges. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department was assigned to investigate the case — standard procedure among agencies to avoid conflict of interest.
According to a criminal complaint, investigators learned that on Jan. 31, Houtsinger conducted a traffic stop and followed a driver to an apartment in the 700 block of Sheridan Road, where the driver had a marijuana grow operation.
The driver reported that the deputy questioned him about the operation, observed the marijuana but didn’t take anything. However, the deputy was alleged to have told the driver that he was never there.
Later, when a search warrant was executed at the driver’s house, Houtsinger reportedly texted one of the officers involved, wondering what was going on during the search, according to the complaint.
On March 3, it was discovered that Houtsinger reportedly arrested a man on charges of felony bail jumping but upon filing the report about the arrest, falsely stated that the suspect had been placed in handcuffs and into his squad car.
Video later showed that the suspect was in the back of the vehicle using a phone and counting money, according to the complaint. Houtsinger had cuffed him only after they had arrived at the jail sally port.
The same day, investigators found out the deputy had stopped a vehicle in the 3700 block of 30th Avenue, where he confiscated a yellow bag from the vehicle. According to the complaint, Houtsinger was then seen returning pill bottles to the vehicle’s occupants, but not the yellow bag.
Houtsinger, authorities said, had not registered the stop, suspects or vehicle information. No report was generated nor evidence logged.
According to the complaint, the deputy later told authorities that he had confiscated a golf ball-size bag of marijuana from the occupants and threw it in garbage cans at a nearby gas station. However, when the cans were checked, no bag with marijuana was found.
When investigators asked about the yellow bag, he said it was in a Tupperware container with a homemade pipe for smoking marijuana and indicated they could be found on the passenger side floorboard of his squad car.
The items were discovered in his vehicle, along with a vape pen that had previously held marijuana, according to the complaint. An LED “light/taser” and 98 replica $1 bills were also found.
Investigators discovered a jar filled with 13.2 grams of marijuana, packaging materials used for narcotics and a digital scale in the trunk of the squad car.
According to the complaint, Houtsinger indicated that the marijuana had been there for months and that he had obtained it from a “young black kid.” The deputy told investigators he could not remember when he obtained it but that it may have been in the spring a year ago.