Seventy-five-year-old Roger Hoeppner's owed the town of Stettin, Wisc. an outstanding fine of $80,000. Earlier this month, 24 police officers descended on his 20 acre property to collect the fine with an armored car in tow. When police arrived, Hoeppner was filing medication into his pill organizer.
According to the Guardian, Hoeppner paid his fine after police escorted him to the bank, where he claims to have drained his 401K. Hoeppner amassed his $80,000 fine from a long-running dispute with the city of Stettin:
The city sued him in 2008 because of the state of his property, which sits off of a major highway and is packed with wood pallets and land equipment. They complained again in 2010, saying he had not complied with an order to clean up the property, at which point a judge intervened. The city did not approve of adjustment he made to his land and in 2011 a judge authorized the town to take away some of his items. A final judgement was issued in April 2013, with Hoeppner receiving a $500 fine every day he did not comply.
Police contend that their response, including the armored car, was appropriate. Marathon County police first acquired the armored vehicle, a BearCat, in 2011, calling it MARV, or Marathon County Response Vehicle.
"I've been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up," Marathon County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Bean told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Bean told the paper that the armored vehicle saved time, money, and increased the safety of Hoeppner's arrest. "People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now."
From the Journal Sentinel:
Marathon County sheriff's officials aren't apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff's Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.
"I just don't understand why a dollar and a half of postage on an envelope that I would have had to pick up at the Wausau post office wouldn't have done the same thing as 24 officers and an armored vehicle," Hoepnner told the Guardian.
Update, 3:51 p.m.: In dashcam footage acquired by WSAW, you can hear Hoepnner argue with police about paying his fine.
[There was a video here]