Sheriff Clarke confronted after FOX6 investigation prompts federal lawsuit

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Accused of a cover-up, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and four of his deputies are named as co-defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit -- and it all started with a FOX6 investigation that garnered national attention. A sober driver was arrested for drunk driving in February of 2013 -- and she's still fighting back.

When a Sheriff's deputy T-boned her car last year, Tanya Weyker suffered more than a broken neck. She suffered the indignity of a false arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Now, she has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

"Ms. Weyker's constitutional rights were violated very severely," Chicago lawyer, Jon Erickson said.

With Weyker standing silently at his side, Erickson on Tuesday, July 8th announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and four of his deputies.

"The Sheriff is responsible," Erickson said.

The lawsuit comes two months after a FOX6 investigation showed Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Quiles T-boned Weyker's Toyota Camry and then lied about who caused the crash.

Weyker admitted to having a few sips of a friend's drink that night -- and nothing more.

Her injuries were too severe to perform field sobriety tests.

Sheriff's Deputy Scott Griffin arrested Weyker anyway -- and cited her for driving drunk, even though blood tests would later prove Weyker had no alcohol or drugs in her system.

"I explained to him my eyes were red and glassy because I was crying," Weyker told FOX6 Investigator Bryan Polcyn.

Erickson says his client was treated like a criminal as she laid in a hospital bed in pain.

"Had to ask for permission to use the wash room in front of a deputy who was keeping watch on her," Erickson said.

Video from an airport surveillance camera eventually proved that Deputy Quiles never stopped before turning onto Howell Avenue -- as he claimed in his report.

The Sheriff's Office knew about the video two days after the crash, but the drunk driving case continued for 10 months before a prosecutor finally decided to file formal charges.

"A video that exonerated Ms. Weyker was sat on for months and months until the good work of FOX 6," Erickson said.

The lawsuit filed in federal court accuses Sheriff Clarke, Deputy Quiles and three other deputies of engaging in a cover-up of Deputy Quiles' role in causing the crash by falsely arresting Weyker for driving while intoxicated.

It accuses Sheriff Clarke of having a "de facto policy" of concealing and suppressing officer misconduct through what the lawsuit terms a "code of silence."

It seeks unspecified damages for Weyker.

"She, all her life, thought that law enforcement was here to serve and protect and to tell the truth and be on the side of good and go after the bad guys. She never expected that the bad guy would, in fact, be law enforcement," Erickson said.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has never been shy about speaking his mind in front of a television camera until now.

After giving Sheriff Clarke months to sit down for an interview, FOX6 News finally had no choice but to approach him at a campaign stop -- when he came to Serb Hall in June for Seniorfest.

Bryan Polcyn: "Bryan Polcyn, FOX6, can I have just a minute to talk to you?"

Sheriff Clarke: "Not really."

Bryan Polcyn: "I'd like to talk to you about Deputy Joseph Quiles. Would you give me just a minute Sheriff? There are a lot of people that have questions."

Sheriff Clarke: "You know, I'm here to help seniors celebrate their day. There's an appropriate process for that -- is to go through my public information officer."

FOX6's Bryan Polcyn tried that -- five times, in fact, since February 28th.

The first four times, the Sheriff's spokesperson ignored the request.

The fifth time, she wrote: "The Sheriff will not be doing an interview," without explaining why.

Sheriff Clarke: "She has responded. She may not have responded in the way that you liked it -- but she did respond, okay?"

Bryan Polcyn: "Is there a reason that you don't want to talk about that incident?"

Sheriff Clarke: "Look, there's a courtesy that goes along with being a reporter. There is a professionalism. Apparently you don't get it -- okay? This is an event to honor seniors and that's why I am here today -- to give them their respect. And you ought to do the same thing."

Once again, FOX6's Bryan Polcyn asked multiple times for a sit down interview.

Bryan Polcyn: "I will walk away now if we can sit down and do an we always have."

Once again, Sheriff Clarke declined.

Bryan Polcyn: "I just want to know if you believe the arrest of Tanya Weyker was appropriate under the circumstances?"

As for Deputy Quiles, at the time of the crash, he was treated and released for minor injuries. He has yet to return to work.

The attorney representing his workers compensation case told FOX6 News that according to his doctors, he is disabled and cannot perform his duties -- at least for awhile.

The County Executive's office says Quiles has a claim for permanent duty disability that is still pending.

CLICK HERE to read the press release issued by the Chicago law firm representing Weyker

On Sunday, July 13th, FOX6 News sits down exclusively with the victim in this story. We'll get the latest from her perspective, Sunday on FOX6 News.

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  • bderk.

    What is done in the dark will come out….KARMA…. No trust in law enforcement…..JUST SAD!

  • Tonya

    Um…I thinkyou might be blaming the wrong for law enforcement officer. The sheriff is in charge of the county, not the city, where the majority of homicide are occuring.

  • Mikey

    I just wanted to add that Quiles was paid to drive around all day, every day at work. That is what constitutes being a professional driver. Professional drivers don’t make stupid errors like failing to stop at a signal or stop sign unless they are impaired.

  • David Kelder

    spn221 sais ‘ ” While the cover up is shameful to Milwaukee County, the press should realize that Sheriff Clarke can’t comment on pending litigation whether he is guilty or innocent.” There was plenty of time for the sheriff to respond BEFORE there was a lawsuit pending. Likely, if there had been no false charges, there would have been no lawsuit.

    • Michael Red Walls

      Once her tests came back negative for alcohol and drugs, the officer was guilty. The sheriff is responsible for his deputies. Therefore he must take responsibility for the lies in the police report.

  • brian

    I think there are two stories here. The one that is probably driving the attorney to run the lawsuit, and the one of possible wrong on the part of one (or more) officers. It may be the part of this about Sheriff Clarke talking about things that make some politicians very uncomfortable is probably the reason the politician’s friends the attorneys decided to find something against Clarke’s department. IF there actually was something wrong here it will be one of the first times someone looking for dirt to throw actually helps someone.

  • kiptw

    They tried repeatedly to go through channels. “Going through channels” effectively means “be content with our stonewalling and don’t ask any questions.” Well done to the TV station for doing their job, and I hope (as has been said) that one day ‘rogue’ policemen start paying for their misdeeds with their own money, and that ‘decent’ cops will stop shielding the bullies and screwups.

  • dennisclatham

    While you’re thinking about how rude that cameraman was – also think about the woman who had her neck broken in 4 places – and this lunatic sheriff tried to cover it up – and he knew about the video – saw the video and saw that his deputy lied …. but he still tried to cover it up ….. I like how the camera man didn’t back down – because the people need to know THE TRUTH – david clark is always running his pie hole on fox news – radio show on the blaze – but now he’s quiet …

  • Reasonless

    You must be one of those worthless pos that needs all the free stuff. And when things don’t go your way you blame the working class people and the cops.
    Next time you’re getting car jacked, robbed or mugged, please don’t call 911, call one of your drug dealing buddies instead.
    911 should be able to block all of you cop hating a$$holes from even being able to call.

  • mr. parker

    Clarke has seen through the democRATS lies. Blacks in this country are just taken for granted by the democRATS. Republicans try to reach out to them but will not support intergenerational welfare programs that the democRATS keep peddling.
    I’m a halfblood Mohawk. I got sick and tired a long time ago of white liberals telling me how to think and how to vote.

  • DellWithTheDopePlays (@theori)

    Soooo… to hell with the evidence huh? Never mind that one of his deputies broke the law and nearly killed a woman, and that cops (WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BRING PEOPLE TO JUSTICE WHEN THEY DO WRONG) committed another crime by falsely arresting her, and filing fraudulent reports, then further obstructed justice by trying to hide the tapes. Forget all that, cause lying about an organization that only exists because of abusive cops, makes him good in your eyes.

    You know why anti-BLM people NEVER use their real names, or profiles and pictures? Because just like sheriff clark, they know that they are in the wrong. I don’t see how any patriotic American can try to PROTECT bad cops. America’s founding is AGAINST BEING A POLICE STATE. It’s not a “liberal narrative” this is literally about what America is about, NOT BEING ABUSED BY THE GOVERNMENT. When you blindly support police to the degree that you make excuses for bad cops trampling on the civil liberties, you are endorsing a POLICE STATE. That’s the groundwork for a dictatorship. Anyone who let’s their racism drive them so far right that they would rather see officers of the American Government behave like literal Nazi’s and Apartheid cops, is unpatriotic and Anti-American. It’s treason.

  • Reasonless

    So, if and when Clarke is cleared of this, will Fox 6 post anything about it?
    Fox 6 knows that while this is an open investigation that Clarke is not allowed to comment on any of it.
    And yet, Fox 6, who hates Cops, is twisting this in any way possible to make Clarke look guilty.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves for even thinking that you come even remotely close to being real reporters.
    Fox 6 hates law enforcement and just like the Liberals in office, will fabricate lies in order to push their agenda. They know that even if their lies are found out, that the damage is done.
    You will never see any kind of retraction from Fox 6 when this finally gets resolved.

  • Reasonless

    Until this is resolved thru proper channels, we won’t know the outcome or what disciplinary actions will be taken.
    Again, Fox 6, that hates Law Enforcement, is making this look like a cover up when it’s really an investigation.

    • JokeEnthusiast

      Since you fail to give a reason that Fox6 holding the Sheriff Dept. accountable to their action/inaction is in anway “hateful” to law enforcement, I will use your name as your answer.

  • Jack

    Oh, you bet! Ask him sometime about officer Barrios, who tried to run me off the road off-duty in his Escalade, and then had an on-duty officer write me false tickets I later had dropped. Furthermore, he blew through the same stop sign 3 times, attempting to hit my car, after the first incident. I finally bought a different car, and it hasn’t happened since.

  • Debra Crowley

    A Deputy just T-Boned her car for no reason? She wasn’t fleeing, didn’t run a stop sign or red light, was just being a good law-abiding citizen minding her own business? Sorry, I just don’t buy into that story…………………………………………

  • Cat

    Weird – she admitted to having a few drinks with friends, but yet there was no alcohol in her system. That would be impossible- something is not right here.

Comments are closed.