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Jury awards man $1.9M for injuries from MPD traffic stop

A jury awarded a man more than $1.9 million for injuries he sustained from a Milwaukee Police officer during a traffic stop.

Officer Froilan Santiago stopped Jimmy Harris on Nov. 19, 2010. The officer thought Harris’ car looked black rather than gray, as was listed by the DMV. Santiago told Harris to get out of his car, saying he’d let Harris look at the squad computer.

Once out of the vehicle, Harris was allegedly subjected to an illegal pat-down search by Santiago, and the two got into a heated discussion. Santiago attempted to arrest Harris and grabbed his left arm to place him in handcuffs. Harris had just had rotator cuff surgery to his left shoulder. Santiago and Harris started struggling, and other officers arrived to help out.

Harris said the struggle resulted in permanent damage to his left shoulder, and the jury agreed, awarding him $1,945,291.77.

Jury verdict: $1,945,291.77

Special damages: 

$132,000 in medical damages – stipulated

Jury Verdict:
1. Unlawful stop – $1,750
2. Excessive force, assault and battery – $1,560,000.00
3. Illegal search – $4,125.00
4. Unlawful arrest – $19,313.00
5. Punitive damages against Froilan Santiago – $40,000.00
6. Punitive damages against Walter McCullough – $50,000.00

City of Milwaukee has stipulated to:
7. Legal fees and Costs – $270,103.77

Demand: $2.4 million

Offer: $50,000

Date of resolution: March 4

Case name: Jimmy Harris v. City of Milwaukee et al

Case type:  1983 Civil Rights

Injuries alleged: Shoulder injuries due to police assault/misconduct

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Presiding official: Judge Lynn Adelman

Case number:  14-CV-1002 (Eastern District of Wisconsin)

Plaintiff’s lawyer: Nate Cade, Cade Law Group LLC, Milwaukee

Defendant’s lawyer:  Jan Smokowicz and Naomi Gehling, Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office, Milwaukee

Plaintiff’s experts: Brian Landers, police practices expert; Dr. Steven Grindel, orthopaedic surgeon; and Dr. David Kornreich, orthopaedic surgeon

Defendant’s experts: Jose Alba, police practices expert, and Michelle Pagan, internal police practices expert


About Michaela Paukner, [email protected]

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at [email protected]

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