Mayor Describes Police Dept. as 'Damaged'
Mayor Tom Barrett
MILWAUKEE - Three former Milwaukee police officers will be sentenced in November after a federal jury found them guilty Thursday of beating Frank Jude.
Jon Bartlett, Andrew Spengler and Daniel Masarik were all convicted. A fourth officer, Ryan Packard, remains on suspension after he was found not guilty.
Mayor Tom Barrett Friday used the word “damaged” to describe the police department after the case.
He said that after these verdicts against former officers, the department needs to bring credibility back to the department.
He called it frustration for people throughout city hall and the police department. "A few bad apples can spoil the entire bushel,” Barrett said.
The pictures of Frank Jude Jr. in his hospital bed leave an impression of brutality that people in the city want to shake.
Barrett plans to work with the police chief to start what they call a healing process.
“I think what we have to do is let people know in the city that a lot of the steps that need to be done have already been taken, and those include now, for the first time in the city's history, we do a psychological check for anybody that's applying for a job with the police department,” Barrett explained.
There are more changes on the way. The Bradley Foundation footed the bill for a consultant who will arrive Monday to start to look at how police officers are assigned to areas of the city.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is also helping study whether the boundaries for district police stations should change.
With a new police chief coming this fall when Nannette Hegerty retires, it will take just the right person to keep the healing process going.
“The first thing I’m looking for is someone who is going to be very aggressive and proactive as a police chief. The job of the police chief, first and foremost, is to fight crime and reduce crime,” Barrett said.
The other issue the mayor raised is getting a new police chief who can get out in the community and earn respect, especially to help the department recover from the credibility damage of the Jude beating.
A federal jury found that the white officers beat Jude, a biracial man, in 2004.
A fourth officer on trial was found not guilty. Now Ryan Packard could put on his uniform again.
Packard was a witness when his colleagues went on trial in state court for beating Jude, but he was suspended from the department when the feds charged him with being a part of the beating.
Now that Packard was found not guilty, the city has to decide whether to put him back on duty.
TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Mick Trevey asked Milwaukee’s mayor whether Packard should ever be back on the street as a cop.
"The police chief has made it clear that she is going to have a subsequent investigation or review of the investigation she had earlier that led to his initial suspension," said Barrett.
Barrett said the chief will look at everything Packard has ever said about the case to see if there is anything that could be grounds to fire him.
The city will also have to consider whether all of the publicity of the trial will hurt Packard’s ability to police the streets.
"This is a tough job to begin with, being a police officer, and you don't want it to be more difficult,” said Barrett.
That becomes a tough issue.
The mayor doesn't want Packard to be under pressure from the community while on patrol, but the mayor also knows the jury didn't find any reason to penalize him.
"I respect the jury's verdict with regard to him, that they felt he was in a different situation than the three who were found guilty,” the mayor said.
The Milwaukee police union said Packard will remain on suspension for now and keep getting paid until the police chief decides whether to put him back on the job.