MILWAUKEE – Two former police officers were each sentenced to more than two years in federal prison Thursday for their roles in a racially charged attack involving a group of white, off-duty officers.
The sentencings are the last of seven in a case that has haunted the city since February 2005, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a front-page photo of Frank Jude Jr.'s swollen, misshapen face.
Jon Clausing pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate the civil rights of Jude, who is biracial, and Lovell Harris, who is black. Clausing admitted cutting Harris' face during the conflict in which Jude was severely beaten outside another officer's housewarming party.
Joseph Schabel admitted stomping on Jude's head two or three times and kicking him while Jude was being held down. He had pleaded guilty to depriving Jude of his civil rights and use of intimidation.
Clausing and Schabel apologized to the victims Thursday, crying at times as they read their statements. Clausing said he didn't recognize himself in his actions that night and would not ask Jude for forgiveness because he hasn't forgiven himself.
Jude's attorney Jonathan Safran read statements from Jude, who forgave Clausing but added that it was sad that Clausing cooperated only under pressure from federal officials.
Jude said Schabel tried to cover up his crimes and his actions were disgraceful. He wondered why it took Schabel three years to apologize.
Harris accepted Clausing's apology and said, "I just hope we all learn from this."
Judge J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced Clausing to 28 months in prison and Schabel to 32 months. He said he granted them leniency because of their cooperation with prosecutors.
Jude was satisfied with the sentences and "is thankful this part of his life may finally be coming to an end and hopes he can move forward," Safran said.
Jude said he was attacked after he and Harris accompanied two white women to the housewarming party in October 2004.
Jude and others said that as the four left the party, he was accused of taking a badge and severely beaten. He said he was kicked and punched, a knife was put to his throat and a pen was jammed in his ears as he begged for mercy. Jude and Harris said they heard racial slurs.
No badge was ever found.
After three former officers were acquitted in a state trial, black and white residents, including the mayor, expressed their outrage at community meetings. The district attorney at the time said a police code of silence kept the truth from coming out.
Federal prosecutors charged eight officers. Three were convicted of violating Jude's civil rights and are serving prison terms of more than 15 years.
One officer, Ryan Packard, was acquitted, and four, including Clausing and Schabel, pleaded guilty.
The police department disciplined 13 officers after the beating, including nine who were fired.