Case Conclusion Date: 10.24.2004
Practice Area: Civil rights
Outcome: $2 million settlement (2nd largest civil rights police excessive force settlement in the history of the State of Wisconsin)
Description: On October 24, 2004, Frank Jude, Jr., along with his friend, Lovell Harris, and two other women, went to a party that was being hosted by City of Milwaukee Police Officers. Mr. Jude and Mr. Harris are African-American, and the two women are white. After being at the paty for only a few minutes and sensing an uncomfortable enviornment, Mr. Jude and the others left the party. Numerous party goers, most of whom were City of Milwaukee Police Officers, confronted Mr. Jude and the others, alleging that they stole the police badge of the party host. Mr. Jude was physcially beaten, including being kicked, punched, and having a pen jammed into both ears. The beating included not only the plain clothes police party goers, but at least one uniformed police officer who was called to the scene of the altercation. Although no badge was found on Mr. Jude or the others, Mr. Jude was arrested, but he continued to be beaten even after being handcuffed. Mr. Jude suffered significant injuries, requiring his hospitalization, subsequent surgery, and some permanent injuries.Three police officers were criminally charged with state crimes, but a state court trial ended with aquittals, and a hung jury on one of the charges. A federal investigation ensued, leading to plea agreements with three police officers and indictments of five other police officers. The federal court trial resulted in convictions of three police officers and an aquittal of one police officer. With the plea agreements and criminal convictions, seven police officers were sent to federal prison. Numerous police officers involved in the incident were disciplined and many were terminated. A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin Federal Court on Mr. Jude's behalf, and then Mr. Harris and the two women also filed similar suits, with all being consolidated together.