Police Report: La Crosse Mayor’s wife instigator in pepper spray incident

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Records from the La Crosse Police Department show new details about why the mayor’s wife was pepper-sprayed during a march last weekend. News 8 Now obtained the police report through an open records request, which noted Christy Kabat was the instigator.

According to a police incident report, Christy Kabat was participating in a protest walk on Saturday, May 30. An observing officer overheard a verbal argument during the event involving Kabat and the driver of a minivan near the intersection of 4th Street North and La Crosse Street. The officer saw a person returning to the driver’s side of a van, then saw a woman slam her hands down on the hood of the van, yelling at the driver. The officer was unable to see more of the incident due to his view being obstructed by fencing.

A witness told police that the minivan was driving too fast near the protesters. According to the report, Kabat addressed the driver, telling him to slow down, “pedestrians have the right of way.” The driver of the van, later identified as Bryan Knutson, continued to the stoplights on 4th Street following the initial confrontation when Kabat approached the vehicle again and stood in front of it. According to the report, Kabat then approached the driver’s side of the van and was pepper-sprayed by the driver.

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Knutson told police that he and his wife were heading to a grocery store when a woman, identified as Christy Kabat, ran into the road and stopped the vehicle next to him. Kabat then approached Knutson’s van, slamming her hands on the hood of it and yelling at him, saying he was driving too fast. Knutson warned Kabat that he would pepper spray her if she did not leave them alone. Following the second incident of Kabat pounding on the hood of Knutson’s van and reaching into the driver’s side window scratching him, he pepper-sprayed her, the report said.

Following witness interviews and observation of video footage of the incident, police conclude Christy Kabat is the instigator in the situation, according to the report.

The incident was referred to the City Attorney’s office for review and recommendations.

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