Claiming the injuries he sustained are “likely permanent,” attorneys for the 17-year-old boy who was beaten by police on June 3 have filed a $2.8 million claim against the City of Madison, Madison Police Department and four police officers.
A Notice of Claim is the first step toward suing the city.
The claim says the teenager, referred to as DCM, “suffered physical and emotional pain and suffering and the aggravation of pre-existing disabilities, which continue to this date and are likely to continue into the future.”
The claim also names DCM’s mother, Jeanetta Clash, as a claimant, saying she “suffered emotional trauma and distress which continues to this date and is likely to continue into the future. DCM’s injuries are likely permanent and will require Claimant Jeanetta Clash to care for Claimant DCM for the foreseeable future, perhaps permanently.”
If the City denies the claim, as is likely, attorney Charles Giesen said the family will sue.
“If we didn’t think it was a legitimate claim, we wouldn’t be bringing a suit,” he said in an interview Thursday.
The suit stems from a June 3 incident in which a Black teenager left West High School in the midst of a mental health crisis. Police were called to take him into protective custody and into the care of mental health professionals, but in the process of taking him into custody, officers forced him into a wall, forced him down and immobilized him, covered his face with a towel, put a “spit-hood” over his head and the punched him in the head three times.
Portions of the incident were caught on home security video, which the teenager’s foster father brought to police. An independent investigation conducted by the UW Police Department found the police officers’ actions to be “objectively reasonable” but still problematic, as the investigator found several “missed opportunities” to de-escalate the situation.
“The videos do not seem to be consistent with the reports,” Giesen said. “I do not consider the UWPD (investigation) an exoneration. They found a lot of fault in what was done. It was pretty critical of the madison police department at the end of the day, though it was a velvet glove criticism. The conclusion is they weren’t acting in accordance with policies and training.”
Giesen said there is “absolutely” a civil rights component to the case.
“A beating is a (civil rights) violation,” he said. “Excessive use of force is recognized by courts across the country as a violation.”
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Madison Police Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Madison Common Council President Shiva Bidar declined to comment.
This story will be updated.