Milwaukee's Common Council okays $2 million beating settlement

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Common Council okayed a $2 million settlement involving a man beaten by off-duty police officers.

Seven former officers were convicted in the October 2004 beating of Frank Jude Jr. outside an off-duty police drinking party in Bay View. The white, off-duty officers accused Jude, who is biracial, of stealing a police badge. Jude filed the civil rights lawsuit in 2006.

Three of the former officers plead not guilty to civil rights violations and 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 city and Jude agreed to the settlement last month. The council unanimously approved the settlement, and approved up to $2 million of contingent borrowing to pay for it Tuesday morning. The budget director says the city may be able to finance it internally and avoid interest cost.

Common Council President Willie Hines issued the following statement in relation to the settlement:

"We will never be able to erase the incident and the terrible images of Mr. Jude in the hospital after the attack. Several of the officers involved in the case were fired, and a few of them were convicted and are serving prison time for their deeds. We must not forget what happened; if we do we risk allowing something like it to occur again.

It is time for Milwaukee to realize a future where those sworn to protect and serve never again find themselves on the wrong side of the law."

Mayor Tom Barrett's spokeswoman Jodie Tabak says the mayor will sign the settlement by the end of the week. Jude's attorney, Jon Safran, says they plan to comment on the settlement after the mayor officially signs off on it.

Now that the civil settlement is done, there is still an issue stemming from the beating that the city must address - that being 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 the police badge.