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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Officer dismissed Ald. Verveer\r \r incident

The police officer that reportedly saw Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, in a room smelling of marijuana at a downtown sports bar acknowledged her mistake reporting the incident, according to documents released Wednesday.  


Officer Carrie Hemming of the Madison Police Department allegedly saw Verveer, District 4, in a dimly lit room of Zander's restaurant and sports bar February 8 around 1 a.m. with five to seven other people. Hemming was conducting a routine tavern check when she smelled marijuana and went to the upper deck of the establishment to see where the smell was coming from.  


Central District Captain Mary Schauf said in a memo that after Hemming saw Verveer, ""she was concerned about proceeding further and chose to disengage.""  


Schauf was contacted about the incident ""as soon as possible during work hours the following week,"" Schauf wrote in the memo.  


Schauf also wrote that she counseled Hemming and her partner ""that if a situation such as this arose in the future that they should enter the space if it can be done legally."" 


According to Hemming's police report of the incident, she said she was halfway up the stairs leading to the dark upper deck of the restaurant when owner Mohamed Barketallah got up quickly from a table, walked quickly over to the stairs, and said something along the lines of, ""We're just relaxing up here.""  


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Hemming reported smelling the distinct smell of burnt marijuana, but did not see any smoke in the darkness.  


Hemming then reported seeing Verveer and wrote in the police report, ""he said nothing, nor did I."" Hemming then turned around and left the area. According to her police report, Hemming told her partner of what she saw and smelled after they had left the sports bar. Schauf's memo said the two discussed the incident ""and the decision was made to not return to Zander's.""  


Verveer and Barketallah have denied doing anything wrong or illegal, and there has been no evidence of marijuana usage. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Verveer said he was surprised only that Hemming didn't say hello and that he thought nothing of the incident until Mayor Dave Cieslewicz contacted him last week.  


Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, puts his full support behind Verveer and said he looks to Verveer as a role model.  


""I have the utmost respect for [Alderman] Verveer and I have absolutely no reason to question what he said about the incident,"" Judge said. ""He has really been a phenomenal alder and I'm sure people will look to his incredible, and practically legendary, record as a member of the ALRC and the city council when they come to judge his character.""

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