Clausing Testifies in Jude Beating Trial
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A former Milwaukee police officer testified Friday that he saw three former colleagues kick and punch a man they suspected had stolen a badge.
Federal prosecutors say a group of white, off-duty police officers beat a biracial man outside an officer's house during a party in October 2004.
They charged fired officers Jon Bartlett, 35, Andrew Spengler, 28, and Daniel Masarik, 27, along with suspended officer Ryan Packard, 27, with violating the civil rights of Frank Jude Jr., who is biracial, and Lovell Harris, who is black, and assaulting them while acting as officers. Each would face up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 fines if convicted.
Jon Clausing, who was fired and has pleaded guilty to violating Jude's and Harris' civil rights, testified that Bartlett, Spengler and Masarik beat Jude and one jammed a pen in his ear. He said Packard was there, but he didn't see him hit Jude.
An all-white jury acquitted Bartlett, Spengler and Masarik of most state charges last year. State prosecutors complained during that trial of officers lying to protect each other.
Since then, four fired former officers pleaded guilty to federal charges, and three are set to testify.
Clausing was the first to take the stand.
He testified Friday that he was drunk that night and doesn't remember much. Bartlett, Spengler and Masarik also were drunk, he said. He wasn't sure about Packard.
Clausing testified that:
He and Bartlett led Harris away at knifepoint and demanded to know where the badge was. When Bartlett returned to the group around Jude, Clausing cut Harris' face with the knife to let him know he was serious. Harris then broke free and ran.
Clausing returned to the group and helped hold Jude down as several officers punched him. Jude was "thrashing about" and trying to escape but wasn't fighting back.
When on-duty officers arrived, Masarik "forcefully" kicked Jude several times in the head.
Bartlett took a pen, warned Jude that, "You are going to tell me where the badge is or I am going to put this pen in your ear," and then shoved the pen about an inch into Jude's ear.
Jude screamed in pain and balled up. Then Masarik kicked Jude in the groin, causing Jude to scream again.
Bartlett cut Jude's coat in half with a knife, then he and Clausing cut Jude's pants.
Clausing said Jude did not resist during the beating.
No badge was ever found, and Jude and Harris were not charged with theft.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)