Sugar Creek man gets 4.5 years in prison in battery to an officer case
ELKHORN--A Walworth County deputy told a packed courtroom that his children are concerned for his safety after a Sugar Creek man attacked and injured him and verbally assaulted two 14-year-old girls in September 2012.
“They had to see their father--whose welfare they never needed to worry about--with a black eye, contusions to the face and back of my head, road rash on my legs and marks left by the dogs,” Deputy John Czerwinski said Wednesday afternoon at Daniel White's sentencing.
“My children now worry about me coming home safe. They worry more now than ever,” Czerwinski said.
Judge David Reddy sentenced White, 42, to 4.5 years in prison, 90 days in jail and 4.5 years extended supervision Wednesday after a jury found White guilty in October of battery to a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer causing bodily harm and disorderly conduct.
White claimed he was the victim of police brutality.
“This defendant believes he is above the law,” Reddy said, looking out at the courtroom filled with officers, victims and White's family.
Reddy then looked directly at White and said, “Mr. White, this sentence is intended to tell you you are not above the law.”
White shook his ahead at Reddy in response.
Walworth County deputies said White attacked them in the September 2012 incident. Deputies said White hit Czerwinski twice in the head with a block of wood after resisting arrest.
Czerwinski and Deputy Matt Weber had gone to White's house after receiving a call from a neighbor who said White yelled at two 14-year-old girls after they took White's cat inside and fed it tuna, Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo said in opening statements at the September 2014 trial.
White refused to secure his two dogs, wouldn't provide identification and wouldn't speak to the deputies outside his fenced yard, Donohoo said.
Defense attorney Donna Kuchler argued that White was cooperative and the deputies were aggressive.
The defense and prosecution disagreed on what happened when the deputies arrived.
Kuchler claimed deputies instructed White to get his driver's license from his car. On his way to his vehicle, the deputies asked him to put the dogs inside. White was unable to do either “quickly enough,” and the deputies broke White's fence, Kuchler said.
The dogs went after the deputies, and Czerwinski went after White, pinning White to the ground and injuring him, Kuchler said.
Donohoo claimed White didn't offer to put the dogs in the house or volunteer information. The deputies told White that if the dogs bit the deputies, the dogs would be shot. White then hit Czerwinski, the two engaged in “hand-to-hand combat,” and the dog bit Czerwinski, Donohoo said.
The dog was shot with a Taser by Weber, and Weber hit the defendant, who resisted arrest again, Donohoo said.
Kuchler claimed the deputies used excessive force and said over the radio that shots were fired to cover their tracks.
Donohoo said the shots-fired call resulted from Weber's Taser going off and Czerwinski thinking it was a gun because he was in an altercation with White.
One of two 14-year-old girls said she is afraid to leave the house and be home alone.
“I'm afraid to go outside at night because he could be watching,” she said Wednesday, adding she is losing friends because parents are afraid to let their children go to her house because they fear White.
“I don't think I should be losing my friends because of him … I just want it to be over,” she said.
Several neighbors have or held restraining orders against White, neighbor Natolie Murray said with tears in her eyes.
White has a history of making rude and threatening comments, offering sexual favors, videotaping and swearing at Murray and others in the neighborhood, she said.
"The mental and emotional anguish he has put my family through is something no one should ever have to go through," Murray said.
White has posted several comments on Facebook and over the phone claiming the deputies of Walworth County are “thugs” and “corrupt garbage,” Donohoo said.
Before being sentenced, White responded to Donohoo's accusations, saying he doesn't hold a grudge against law enforcement and he respects the law.
“I'm not the monster people portray me to be,” White told Reddy. “I'm not a threat to society. I'm not a threat to the public.
"I just want to be with my family,” he later added.