Milwaukee man awarded $160K settlement after alleging police roughed him up during arrest

Rafael Rosales

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man was awarded a $160,000 settlement from the city after he said police roughed him up during an arrest.

Rafael Rosales was being taken into custody following a pursuit in 2017. His attorneys said he ended up being kicked in the face by Officer Michael Gasser while handcuffed.

Attorneys announced a federal civil rights lawsuit in January.

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 said once Rosales was secured on the ground, Officer Gasser kicked him in the face, breaking his nose. The attorneys said 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.

Body cam video of arrest of Rafael Rosales

Michael Gasser

Dashcam and body camera videos were evidence in the lawsuit which alleged Gasser attacked Rosales. The complaint also alleged “eight additional officers were standing nearby, yet did nothing to stop the attack.” The attorneys said those officers “covered up for Gasser by writing false reports of the incident and lying to investigators.” They also said the officers joked about “the kick.”

Rosales’ legal team said Greenfield police officers later reported Officer Gasser to MPD’s Internal Affairs Division — and a criminal investigation was launched.

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.

Rosales pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of fleeing or eluding an officer, habitual criminality repeater in April 2018. In June 2018, he was sentenced to serve six years in prison and five years, six months’ extended supervision.

In January 2019, when the lawsuit was announced, Rosales’ attorneys said Rosales was still suffering neck injuries and emotional trauma from the incident.

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