[Marxism] All-White Milwaukee Jury finds cops "Not Guilty"in Beating of Black Man

David Altman altman_d at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 15 06:40:49 MDT 2006


http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=416165

'Not Guilty'
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 
October 2004.

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 
questioning.

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 
stress-related retirement.

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 
unpaid suspension.

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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