Committee approves $2 million Frank Jude civil settlement

MILWAUKEE -- The Frank Jude civil settlement is one step closer to being a done deal. Jude was beaten by Milwaukee police officers at a party in October of 2004.

Thursday, the Milwaukee Common Council's Finance and Personnel Committee approved the $2 million civil settlement for Jude, and the money to pay for it.

The 2004 incident happened in Bay View. The off-duty officers accused Jude of stealing a police badge at the party, after he and some friends came to the party uninvited.

Three former officers, who plead "not guilty" to civil rights violations are still in prison, with about 10 more years to serve. Three other former officers, who plead "guilty," have served their time and have been released.

The Finance and Personnel Committee authorized up to $2 million of contingent borrowing to pay for the settlement. The budget director says the city may be able to finance it internally, and avoid interest cost.

"We believe the immediate impact, in terms of any new borrowing or additional debt service will be relatively limited and managed because of some refinancing activity that is going on," Milwaukee Budget Director Mark Nicolini said.

Once the civil settlement is done, there is still an issue stemming from the beating that the city must address: claims for legal fees by the former officers.

State law says if an employee is acting within the scope of their employment, the governmental employer is liable to pay any judgement. Only two officers were actually on duty at the time of the incident. Six were off-duty - claiming they put themselves on duty in search of the alleged theft of a police badge.

No badge was ever found.