Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Million dollar verdict against Milwaukee police in a no knock SWAT raid case

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Case: BETKER v. City of Milwaukee, Dist. Court, ED Wisconsin 2014

Quote on compensatory damages:

Here, the jury awarded plaintiff $750,000 in compensatory damages. Although the verdict was substantial, based on the evidence presented, it was not excessive, and there is no suggestion by defendant that the award was higher than awards made in similar cases. Plaintiff incurred $22,251.24 in past medical expenses, $1,000 for a prosthesis, $14,000 in repair bills, $7,410 for broken carnival glass, $4,000 for a cabinet and $3,000 for a rifle scope. Plaintiff also presented evidence indicating serious permanent damage to his right hand. His middle finger was hollowed out by a bullet causing a lasting disability. Plaintiff has a hole in his hand, which prevents him from doing many normal things as, for example, removing change from his pocket. Plaintiff’s treating physician, Dr. Hodgson, opined that plaintiff was a good candidate for a ray resection procedure in which the stump of his finger would be amputated creating a more functional three finger hand at a cost of $10,000 to $20,000. However, plaintiff’s hand will be permanently disfigured.

Plaintiff was also shot in the left shoulder which, prior to the shooting, was his good shoulder. Plaintiff’s right shoulder had been previously damaged in an accident. Plaintiff testified as to his lingering pain in his shoulder, the fact that he had received cortisone shots for years which were no longer effective and that he was to have surgery soon after the trial. Dr. Hodgson testified that there were procedures that might help including a shoulder arthroscopy, which costs between $15,000 and $25,000, and an arthroplasty, which costs between $30,000 and $50,000. Plaintiff also incurred a great deal of physical and emotional pain and suffering as the result of the invasion of his home and the shooting. When the incident occurred, he feared for his life and that of his wife. He was forced to lie bleeding, naked, in broken glass and was slammed against a wall and windowsill. Plaintiff also testified that the effects of that traumatic evening remain with him. Finally, plaintiff was jailed for three days.

Written by Burgers Allday

May 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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