MILWAUKEE -- Disturbing dashcam and body camera video from an August 2017 arrest is now evidence in a multi-count federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, former Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Gasser and other current MPD officers. Attorneys for Rafael Rosales announced the lawsuit on Thursday, Jan. 24.
In August 2017, Milwaukee police and other area police were in pursuit of a man who took off after a traffic stop. The suspect inside the vehicle was Rafael Rosales. Once cornered, Rosales surrendered. His attorneys told reporters during a news conference on Thursday morning, that once Rosales was secured on the ground, Officer Gasser kicked him in the face, breaking his nose. The attorneys say that act triggered multiple epileptic seizures.
"He spent three days on a breathing tube in the hospital and has suffered serious injuries ever since," said Flint Taylor, People's Law Office.
Dashcam and body camera videos are evidence in the lawsuit which alleges Gasser attacked Rosales. The complaint also alleges "eight additional officers were standing nearby, yet did nothing to stop the attack." The attorneys say those officers "covered up for Gasser by writing false reports of the incident and lying to investigators." They also say the officers joked about "the kick."
Rosales' legal team said Greenfield police officers later reported Officer Gasser to MPD's Internal Affairs Division -- which launched a criminal investigation.
Gasser was criminally charged with misconduct in office and substantial battery in this case. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges -- misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct. Gasser resigned from the Milwaukee Police Department -- and was sentenced to 14 days in jail and 18 months of probation.
It is important to note that Rosales is currently serving time in prison for fleeing from police and armed robbery. His attorneys say Rosales is still suffering neck injuries and emotional trauma from the incident. They say they want discipline brought against the eight current officers that allegedly wrote false reports on this incident.
"They didn't need to kick him. They didn't need to celebrate the fact they were brutal to him," Taylor said.
Officials with the city attorney's office in Milwaukee told FOX6 News they do not comment on or answer questions regarding pending litigation.
Milwaukee police offered the following statement:
"The Milwaukee Police Department takes all incidents of police misconduct seriously. Michael Gasser resigned from the Milwaukee Police Department on August 30, 2018, and is no longer a member of our agency."