[Marxism] All-White Milwaukee Jury finds cops "Not Guilty"in Beating of Black Man
altman_d at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 15 06:40:49 MDT 2006
All-white jury clears officers in 4 of 5 charges
By JOHN DIEDRICH and GEORGIA PABST
jdiedrich at journalsentinel.com
Posted: April 15, 2006
An all-white jury deliberated for more than 25 hours before finding three
former Milwaukee police officers not guilty Friday night on four of five
charges in the brutal beating of Frank Jude Jr., who is biracial.
The Milwaukee County jury deadlocked on one charge in the case. Jude was
beaten outside a party for off-duty police officers at a Bay View home in
U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said his office would start reviewing the case
immediately for possible federal charges. He has met with District Attorney
E. Michael McCann already and plans to meet with him again.
For federal jurisdiction to apply, the officers have to have been acting
under "color of law." Because they said they put themselves on duty to
investigate the alleged theft of a police badge, that standard may apply.
Biskupic said he would not prejudge the case.
"I understand the need to move quickly," he said.
Chief Nannette Hegerty said that an internal investigation would be launched
to review officers' statements during the trial.
Jon Bartlett, Andrew Spengler and Daniel Masarik were all present as Circuit
Judge David A. Hansher read the verdict to a packed courtroom at 11:19 p.m.,
after the panel had been deliberating for more than three days.
All three former police officers had been charged with being party to the
crime of substantial battery. Bartlett and Masarik also were charged with
being party to the crime of second-degree recklessly endangering safety.
If convicted, Bartlett and Masarik had faced up to 22 1/2 and 13 1/2 years
in prison, respectively, and Spengler up to three years.
The jury returned findings of not guilty for each man, but reported a
deadlock on Bartlett's battery charge. A hearing on that charge was
scheduled for June 1.
The crowd in the courtroom gallery sat silently as Hansher read the
verdicts. Ald. Mike McGee said "bullshit" at least three times as the
verdicts were being read.
McCann said: "I'm saddened by the verdict. I'm troubled by the verdict. The
ratting problem is a severe, real problem. It played a serious role. People
who knew what happened wouldn't say."
The attack on Jude was "despicable" and "cowardly," McCann said. He also
said he was very concerned that the case was decided by an all-white jury.
He said he was not suggesting that the verdict would have gone the other way
if there had been people of color on the jury, but that it looked bad.
McCann said that he had never lost a felony verdict until now, but he
recognized going in that "it was always a possibility because we didn't have
cooperation from several police officers."
Late in what he called "a long and troubling night for our community," Mayor
Tom Barrett said he hopes federal civil rights charges can be brought
against the acquitted former officers.
"I am absolutely shocked and outraged by these verdicts," Barrett said at a
news conference in the Police Administration Building.
Hegerty said she hoped the city would heal quickly. "Despite tonight's
verdicts, I will not tolerate misconduct on this Police Department," she
said. "That has been my record and that will not change."
Defense attorney Gerald Boyle, who defended Bartlett, said: "We are elated
with the outcome of this case."
The defense team had nothing to do with the all-white jury, Boyle said. The
attorneys wanted to have people of color on the jury but there were not
enough minorities in the jury pool, he said.
Defense attorneys succeeded in removing the last two African-Americans from
the jury pool because they said they were not attentive during jury
Earlier in the night, Hansher had ordered the jurors to go back to their
hotel and come back today to continue deliberations, but after jurors said
another night being sequestered wouldn't help the impasse they had reached,
Hansher had them stay in the jury room.
It was the longest jury deliberation McCann had ever seen, he said.
Outside the crowded courtroom, a security clampdown took hold. Sheriff's
deputies lined the sixth-floor hallway, and police limited access to
MacArthur Square out of concerns the verdict in the racially charged case
would provoke civil unrest.
Jonathan Safran, attorney for the Jude family, said he was "shocked" by the
verdict and planned to ask Biskupic's office to review the case for possible
federal criminal prosecution.
"I'm surprised there were no convictions on any of them," Safran said.
Outside the courthouse, Ald. McGee said he was too disgusted to discuss the
situation in much detail.
"It's business as usual," McGee said before accompanying several Jude family
members away from the courthouse.
Willie Jude, an uncle of Frank Jude Jr., said he was worried about
Milwaukee's future because of the verdict.
The prosecution faced a major challenge in the case: persuading a jury to
convict police officers. The investigation was hampered by a lack of hard
evidence and scant help from off-duty officers.
McCann hammered on a "police code of silence" during the 13-day trial,
noting that a half-dozen non-police witnesses saw kicking and beating, while
none of the eight police witnesses for the defense said they saw that.
On the state's side was the graphic post-beating photo of Jude blown up to
poster size, and two key witnesses: the first on-duty officers on the scene.
Those officers identified the three defendants. They also told of
retaliation because of their cooperation in the case. One has taken a
The defense railed against those officers and accused one of them, Joseph
Schabel, of being the one who kicked Jude, an accusation that didn't surface
until the trial. They pointed to a 911 tape in which a witness said on-duty
officers were kicking Jude, too.
In a case that relied almost entirely on witness accounts, the defense
attorneys assailed each of the state's witnesses, who gave different and
sometimes contradictory accounts of who did what. Some made identification
after the defendants' pictures were in the media.
Each defense attorney argued a different case: Bartlett was trying to make a
legal arrest and Jude was fighting; Spengler restrained Jude but was blamed
for beating him because it was his party; and Masarik was inside the house
looking for his police logbook when the beating occurred and was confused
with someone else.
Bartlett and Masarik testified; Spengler did not. Before the trial,
observers said defendant testimony could have resulted in officers
implicating each other. They didn't.
The three defendants were charged in each count as being "a party to the
crime," an important distinction. It doesn't require proof that the person
committed the crime. The person also can be convicted if he or she is
"aiding and abetting" the person who did it or was a member of a conspiracy
to commit the crime.
Under that definition, even if it was proven that a defendant stood around
Jude and was "ready and willing to assist," but didn't do anything, he could
be convicted, according to the jury instruction.
During the trial, testimony surfaced that indicated several other off-duty
officers had physical contact with Jude and the man he was with, Lovell
Harris, but those officers weren't charged. McCann has said he would
consider new charges following this trial.
Witnesses said that Ryan Packard hit Jude, but he denied it. Packard
received the lightest sentence of the 13 officers punished: 23 days of
Ryan Lemke, who was fired, admitted in court to kicking Jude twice. And
several witnesses testified that Jon Clausing had contact with Jude and was
near Harris when he was cut. Clausing and Lemke were fired.
The jury for the largest criminal case involving police officers in
Milwaukee in at least 25 years was all white, which drew complaints from
McCann. Defense attorneys succeeded in removing the last two
African-Americans from the jury pool because they said they were not
attentive during jury questioning.
Derrick Nunnally, Gina Barton and Bob Purvis, all of the Journal Sentinel
staff, contributed to this report.
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