Mark Wagner has dedicated his life to helping others. Mark was born in raised in Southeast Wisconsin and knew from an early age that his calling was to help others.
While in college Mark was hired as a Police Aide with the Milwaukee Police Department. After graduating, Mark was hired as a Police Officer with MPD where he served the community for the next 23 years in various roles including narcotics detective, bomb squad member, dive team member, HIDTA Task Force Officer, and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Officer. Mark retired in August 2017 at the rank of Detective.
After retiring, Mark knew he was not finished with his life of service and joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) as a Special Agent in September 2017. Mark serves in the Narcotics Bureau out of the Milwaukee Field Office and is a DEA Task Force Officer conducting complex drug trafficking investigations to keep dangerous drugs off our streets.
Mark's dedication to helping others extends outside of his career as a law enforcement officer. In May 2020, Mark provided a life saving gift to his former MPD partner when he selflessly donated a kidney to him. Mark is a devoted husband and loving father to two sons.
On February 3, 2022, Mark was part of an arrest team tasked with taking a violent criminal into custody. Mark and 20 other federal, state, and local law enforcement officers planned to arrest 38-year-old Quadren Wilson for selling fentanyl, a powerful opioid, to a person who later died from an overdose. Wilson, who has a history of fleeing/resisting law enforcement and being armed, was on supervision through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and had an active warrant for violation of his terms of supervision.
Mark and his colleagues with the Wisconsin Joint Tactical Team located Wilson driving his vehicle in Madison and conducted a trained vehicle containment technique designed to prohibit someone from fleeing in a vehicle. As Mark and others approached Wilson to arrest him, Wilson ignored the commands given by officers and actively resisted their attempt to take him into custody. Wilson's reckless behavior posed an imminent danger to law enforcement and others in the area. Mark and another agent fired their weapons at Wilson to stop the threat. After Wilson no longer posed a threat, he was taken into custody. Wilson was transported from the scene by ambulance for injuries sustained during the incident and survived his injuries.
On September 22, 2022, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne charged Mark with Second-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety with the Use of a Dangerous Weapon. Every day law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Wisconsin. Officers often have to make split second decisions that can have life and death consequences. It is not lost on us that District Attorney Ozanne took more than five months to evaluate a decision that Mark was forced to make in seconds.
United States Supreme Court case Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) established the "objective reasonableness" standard for law enforcement use of force. In that case, the Court explained that, "As in other Fourth Amendment contexts... the "reasonableness" inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers' actions are 'objectively reasonable' in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation." The Court also cautioned, "The "reasonableness" of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."
A 12 page criminal complaint filed by the Dane County District Attorney's Office details the events that occurred on February 3, 2022.
The complaint fails to show how Mark acted "recklessly", and in fact details how he reasonably feared for his life and the life of other law enforcement officers.