Supervisor Ryan Clancy Suing City After 2020 Arrest
Clancy's suit seeks to prohibit city from using curfews in the future and argues 2020 curfew violated due process.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy filed a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and their respective law enforcement agencies Friday morning regarding his May 31, 2020 arrest.
Clancy, as Urban Milwaukee was the first to report, was arrested for a curfew violation last year at the Milwaukee-Shorewood border on the third night of the protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
“I would like to see the end of curfews in Milwaukee,” said Clancy to members of the media gathered outside City Hall Friday. He argues they are ineffective and arrests related to them have a racial bias.
Clancy, as Urban Milwaukee witnessed on the day prior to his arrest, was monitoring the protests as a volunteer observer for the American Civil Liberties Union wearing a marked vest.
He said he was doing the same when the curfew went into effect at 9 p.m. on May 31st. Clancy said he took off the vest, put on his county supervisor pin and stepped over the border at E. Edgewood Ave. into the Village of Shorewood. He said he was seeking a ride home.
“It was illegal to ask my wife or my friend to come pick me up,” said Clancy, detailing the limited options given the curfew.
But then a large number of law enforcement officers began arriving at the scene around 10:30 p.m. A warning was given about impending curfew arrests.
“They lined up and forced us from Shorewood, where there was no curfew, to Milwaukee, where there was,” said Clancy. “I was tackled without warning by an officer who immediately took possession of and turned off my phone.”
He said a pandemic-related facemask partially covered his face, blocking an officer’s attempt to unlock his phone with facial recognition software.
After his arrest, Clancy, as Urban Milwaukee watched, pleaded with officers to reapply plastic bracelets to his hands that were too tight. He was critical of the effort and time it took to release them and reapply a new set.
He also repeatedly identified himself as a county supervisor and explained he was exempt from the emergency curfew.
But Clancy couldn’t secure his release. Urban Milwaukee watched him be placed into a police van around 10:45 p.m. He was in jail until approximately 3:00 a.m. according to his suit.
“I am less interested in holding the individual officers accountable than the system,” said Clancy.
But Clancy’s attorneys have run into issues with his case, namely no law enforcement agency at the scene has produced any body camera evidence.
He still doesn’t know who the officer was that tackled him.
Does Clancy blame then-chief Alfonso Morales for the way the officers acted? “Yes,” said Clancy. But he declined to speculate why there is no body camera footage.
Urban Milwaukee observed and photographed officers from the Shorewood Police Department, Brown Deer Police Department and Wisconsin State Police also at the scene, but none of those departments are named in the suit. Lin told Urban Milwaukee that is because there is no footage of them.
But that’s part of the reason Clancy held a press conference Friday. His legal team is asking anyone at the scene that could describe what they saw or that has photos or videos to come forward. Lin’s firm, Ahmad & Associates, can be reached via its website.
A claim for damages from personal injury is not currently part of the suit. The suit puts forth four claims: unlawful seizure of his phone, the use of excessive force, a failure to intervene and a “Monell” doctrine claim related to a failure to train officers related to the limits of the emergency curfew.
The suit claims that the emergency curfew first declared by Mayor Tom Barrett on May 30th violated due process and was invalid under due process and state law because the mayor only has the authority to declare an emergency if the Common Council is unable to meet. Clancy’s suit argues the council was able to meet given its teleconference capabilities.
You can read my real-time chronicling of the incident via my Twitter from that day.
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