On May 21, 2006, Danyall Simpson was in his car backing out of the driveway of his residence. Two City of Milwaukee Police Officers arrived to question Mr. Simpson regarding an alleged property damage incident. After Mr. Simpson exited his vehicle, Officer James Langer allegedly threw Mr. Simpson against his car, causing him to strike his head, and then struck Mr. Simpson in the head with a flashlight, causing significant injuries, including a broken eye socket. Officer Zoe Jackson did nothing to prevent Officer Langer, her partner, from striking and injuring Mr. Simpson.
As a result of this incident, Mr. Simpson retained the Milwaukee personal injury lawyers at Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. We have now filed a federal lawsuit against Officers Langer and Jackson. The lawsuit alleges that Officers Langer and Jackson violated Mr. Simpson's civil and constitutional rights, because striking someone in the head with a flashlight is excessive and unreasonable force. In fact, proper police procedure dictates that an officer can strike someone in the head only if there is an imminent threat to the life of the officer or to someone else. There is no evidence that Mr. Simpson posed any threat to the life of Officers Langer and Jackson, or to anyone else. There is evidence, on the other hand, that Officer Langer used his flashlight and struck other citizens in the head while making arrests in the past.
We have also sued the City of Milwaukee ("the City") on behalf of Mr. Simpson for two reasons. First, Officers Langer and Jackson were acting within the scope of their employment with the Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") when they confronted Mr. Simpson, making the City liable for their conduct. Second, we sued the City because this incident highlights some of the MPD's troubling policies regarding excessive and unconstitutional use-of-force and the "Code of Silence." In his three years on the MPD, Officer Langer was involved in four times as many use-of-force incidents as other officers. MPD Commanders raised red flags about this conduct and the Milwaukee County District Attorney even investigated Officer Langer. Nevertheless, the MPD never disciplined or counseled Officer Langer about his uses-of-force. With respect to the "Code of Silence," Officer Jackson initially said that she saw Officer Langer strike Mr. Simpson with a flashlight, but she later denied seeing the assault when speaking to investigators. The MPD fired Officer Jackson for changing her story, but the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission reinstated her. Officer Langer quit the MPD shortly after this incident, resulting in the MPD terminating its investigation of Officer Langer, without any discipline being issued.
In bringing this lawsuit, we hope to not only achieve justice for Mr. Simpson, but also force the MPD to reform its policies. "These were obviously very serious injuries and our concern was the prior incidents and the code of silence," Attorney Jon Safran told the media after the lawsuit was filed. We continue to be concerned about illegal and unconstitutional conduct and the "Code of Silence," which may be involved in the MPD's alleged current pattern of conducting illegal strip searches and body cavity searches.
If you believe that your rights may have been violated by the police, contact Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C., and we will do our best to achieve justice for you.
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