The police department where officers shot an unarmed dad of three earlier this week has been sued multiple times for police misconduct – including one instance where a traffic stop ended in the death of one man, court documents reveal.
The Kenosha Police Department has come under fire in recent days after its police officers were caught on video Sunday shooting Jacob Blake in the back in front of his sons when he tried to walk away from them. Blake is now in stable condition, according to police. Although the names of the officers involved weren’t revealed Monday, authorities from Wisconsin’s state Division of Criminal Investigation are now investigating.
The cops responded to a call about a “domestic incident,” and a now-viral video shows Blake walking away from officers before one opened fire on Blake while his back was turned as he tried to get into his minivan. Blake’s father has now revealed that his son is paralyzed from the waist down.
But court records show this isn’t the first time that the department has been accused of using excessive force.
In 2005, the family of Michael Bell sued the Kenosha Police Department for his wrongful death in their custody. Cops pulled the 21-year-old over around 2 a.m. the year before for allegedly running a stop sign. The encounter escalated into police restraining Bell on the ground, kicking him and tasing him in the back – before one officer shot him in the head, the man’s family said in court papers. All of this occurred in front of Bell’s mother and sister, their complaint alleged. After four years of legal wrangling, the city of Kenosha reached a $2 million out of court settlement with the Bell family.
Last year, Ernest Quintero sued the department, accusing officers of breaking down his door without a warrant over a domestic disturbance. He said in court papers that the responding officers “slammed” his head into a door frame – which required 10 stitches – and beat him while he was unconscious because they said he was resisting arrest. Quintero is seeking $100,000 for his pain and suffering and for damage to his front door. Lawyers for the department denied Quintero’s version of events and the case is ongoing.
In another case, African-American officer Twain Robinson sued the department for booting him out when he refused to become a confidential informant in order to “destroy” another black officer, and complained to higher-ups about detectives mishandling a homicide, Robinson said in his complaint. That case was later dismissed.
We’ve reached out to the Kenosha Police Department for comment. So far, we haven’t heard back. The department’s website appeared to be down Monday.