QPP Extra — Andrew Wittmer and police PTSD

Former Decatur, IL Police Officer Andrew Wittmer

On July 11, 2016, Decatur, Illinois, Police Officer Andrew Wittmer shot and wounded Lonnie Mitchell after a shirtless Mitchell reached for a black semi-automatic pistol in his waistband. Wittmer fired one shot.

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In this honest interview, Andrew opens up about the trauma and stresses he went through during and after the incident, particularly his struggle to deal with the the aftermath of trauma and his treatment by the Decatur PD, who refused to see his PTSD as job related.

The semi-automatic replica airsoft pistol carried by Lonnie D. Mitchell II at thetime he was shot by Officer Wittmer
The semi-automatic replica airsoft pistol carried by Lonnie D. Mitchell II when he was shot by Officer Andrew Wittmer

Mitchell’s pistol turned out to be an airgun replica BB gun (pictured), the kind often referred to in the media after a police-involved shooting as a “toy,” despite its realistic feel and appearance.

It took over a month before Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott announced that the state would not pursue charges against Officer Andrew Wittmer.

Scott was flanked by Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, Decatur Police Chief Jim Getz, and NAACP Decatur President Jeanelle Norman. The shooting, they all said, was justified.  Norman also represented ALERT – the Area Leaders, Educators Response Team: community activists who work to spread correct information and counter false rumors in the wake of traumatic events. Norman said Decatur’s communities, which had staged prayer and community meetings, behaved with commendable calm and patience.

Andrew has not returned to policing, and shares his experiences with PTSD in this interview.

Andrew’s new Twitter account can be found here.