Family of man detained by Wauwatosa police while headed home from church with grandmother sues
WAUWATOSA — The family of a young man who was handcuffed after riding in the car with his grandmother filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Wauwatosa, its police chief, and multiple officers — and the suit was moved to federal court.
The incident happened on Sept. 2, 2018 near Burleigh Street and Mayfair Road. Dashcam video showed Wauwatosa police officers placing the 18-year-old man in handcuffs, and in the back seat of a squad car. At one point, an officer also pulled his gun from his holster and pointed it toward the ground before going up to an older woman, still in the vehicle.
The young man is black, while his grandmother is white. They were on the way back from church.
Police said this all stemmed from a concerned citizen who reported a man in the back seat of a Lexus was robbing two ladies sitting in the front of the moving vehicle.
After officers learned the woman was the young man’s grandmother, on her way back from church to drop him off at work, they apologized and explained why he was detained.
“Some guy comes up to me in a car and says that guy is robbing you,” an officer said in the video.
“I’m guessing what this sounds like is a really big misunderstanding,” another officer said.
Officers called the incident a misunderstanding, while the family’s attorney said the young man’s rights were violated.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for past and future medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.