MADISON, Wis. — Three police officers did not commit any crimes when they left a naked boy with Jeffrey L. Dahmer two months before his killing spree was discovered, the state's top law enforcement official said Thursday.
Atty. Gen. James Doyle said state investigators found that the Milwaukee officers used poor judgment but that "failing to make the correct judgment is not a violation of the criminal law."
"While in hindsight we wish the officers had handled the encounter with Dahmer differently, we are firm in our belief that they cannot be criminally prosecuted for their actions," Doyle told reporters.
The state investigation did not focus on whether the officers followed proper police procedure, Doyle said. That decision will be left to the Milwaukee Police Department.
Patrolmen John A. Balcerzak, 34, Joseph Gabrish, 28, and Richard Porubcan, 25, were suspended on July 26 and have been charged with departmental violations because they did not thoroughly investigate the incident, Police Chief Philip Arreola has said.
Dahmer has admitted killing and dismembering 17 males since 1978, including the 14-year-old boy.
Witnesses called police on May 27 after seeing the boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, on the street, naked, bleeding, seemingly drugged and appearing to have been molested.
The three officers questioned Dahmer, 31, but decided to leave Sinthasomphone at Dahmer's apartment after accepting Dahmer's explanation that the boy was 19 and the two were homosexual lovers, records show.
Dahmer admitted that he killed the boy as soon as the officers left, according to court records.
Recordings indicate that one officer repeatedly dismissed a witness who called police after the officers had departed to insist that they had made a mistake in leaving the boy with Dahmer.
Doyle said state investigators interviewed more than 40 witnesses and reviewed documents during the three-week "exhaustive review of the facts."
The investigation concluded that the officers had done "nothing in particular that set the incident apart from the multitude of incidents that the officers responded to that night."