By CARRIE ANTLFINGER, AP, July 26, 2007
MILWAUKEE - Three white former police officers were convicted Thursday of beating a biracial man outside a party and violating his civil rights, but a suspended officer was acquitted in the case.
Federal prosecutors said the four were part of a group of off-duty officers who beat Frank Jude Jr. in October 2004 outside a housewarming party for one of the officers.
The jury that included one black man convicted fired officers Jon Bartlett, 35, Daniel Masarik, 27, and Andrew Spengler, 28, of violating Jude's civil rights and conspiring to assault him while acting as officers. Each faces up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines at sentencing, set for Nov. 29.
Suspended officer Ryan Packard, 27, was acquitted of both charges after the jury deliberated 3 1/2 days.
An all-white jury acquitted Bartlett, Masarik and Spengler of most state charges last year. Hundreds marched through downtown in protest.
Six months later, federal prosecutors charged those three and Packard, as well as four others, who have pleaded guilty to similar federal charges.
Jude smiled and put his arm around his attorney as about 20 people cheered outside the courthouse.
"I'm happy, but at the same time a little sad about Ryan Packard," Jude said. "He was there but didn't do nothing to help me or protect me."
Jude went to Spengler's home with Lovell Harris, 34, who is black, and two white women. He testified during the federal trial that a group of men surrounded their truck as they left and dragged him out.
Someone in the group punched him repeatedly and kicked him in the groin, causing him to black out at least once, Jude testified. The beating continued even after on-duty police arrived.
Jude testified that he recognized Spengler's voice as the person who threatened him while a gun was put to his head, but acknowledged he didn't see who it was. He also said he couldn't identify the people who beat him.
Other witnesses said the four officers punched or kicked Jude.
Bartlett's lawyer, Gerald Boyle, said he felt the trial was fair. Masarik's lawyer, Jonathan Smith, said his client was disappointed but no decision has been made on an appeal.
Attorneys for Spengler and Packard would not comment.
The police department disciplined 13 officers after the confrontation, including nine who were fired. Two of the fired officers won back their jobs.
Jude and the others who were with him have sued the officers and the city in federal court.