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Press Release

Former Milwaukee Police Detective Pleads Guilty to Violating Civil Rights by Assaulting a Handcuffed Arrestee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, has announced that a former Milwaukee Police Department detective pleaded guilty today to depriving an arrestee of his civil rights by assaulting him while he was handcuffed to an interview-room wall. 

Rodolfo Gomez, Jr. (age 49) pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Pamela Pepper of the Eastern District of Wisconsin to depriving an in-custody suspect of his civil rights under color of law in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.

In connection with his guilty plea, Gomez admitted that he repeatedly punched the victim in the face and head and kneed him in the torso, all while one of the victim’s hands was handcuffed to a wall in an interview room. Gomez stopped punching and kicking the victim when a police lieutenant who heard yelling entered the room.  In pleading guilty, Gomez acknowledged that the force used was unreasonable and that the victim suffered bodily injury.

“Protecting citizens’ civil rights is a top priority of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice, said United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad.  “So is working to enhance the public trust in police.  This case involved criminal conduct that implicates both of these priorities.  When a law enforcement officer abuses his authority in this way, he not only violates the civil rights of a person in police custody, but he also undermines public trust and makes it more difficult for good, dedicated police officers to do their jobs.”

This case was investigated by the FBI, building upon an earlier investigation done by the Milwaukee Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad and Assistant United States Attorney Mel S. Johnson.

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Updated June 14, 2016