Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

City Must Pay Detective Who Assaulted Murder Suspect

Rodolfo Gomez was fired, went to prison and now he'll get a check for $335,772.

By - Oct 25th, 2021 06:05 pm
Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Former Milwaukee Police Department detective Rodolfo Gomez beat a murder suspect who was handcuffed to a wall in an interrogation room. Now he’s the one that will get paid.

The City Attorney’s Office is recommending the Common Council authorize a payment of $335,772.02 to Gomez for back pay, benefits and interest.

Then-Police Chief Edward A. Flynn fired Gomez in Dec. 2013 for excessive use of force during the Aug. 2013 interrogation of Deron Love in the police administration building. Gomez appealed the decision to the Fire & Police Commission (FPC), and the board upheld Flynn’s decision in July 2015.

But the timing of the commission’s decision left room for Gomez to sue in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. And the court sided with Gomez, ruling that the FPC failed to act within its statutory time limit. The FPC unsuccessfully appealed the matter twice.

But while Gomez was fighting his termination, he faced criminal charges for his actions. In Feb. 2015, a Milwaukee County jury found him not guilty on two charges of misconduct in office and abuse of residents of penal facilities. In 2016, he was indicted on federal charges of “willfully depriving an in-custody subject of his civil right not to be subjected to excessive force.”

A video of the interrogation shows Gomez repeatedly punching Love, who had one hand chained to the wall, in the face and kneeing him in the torso once. The physical assault stopped when another MPD member entered the room.

Gomez pled guilty to the federal charge in June 2016 and was sentenced to a year and one day in prison as part of the plea agreement.

But as a result of the circuit court rulings, the City of Milwaukee owes Gomez his salary and benefits, plus interest, from the date of his termination through the date of his guilty plea.

Gomez, a 12-year MPD veteran at the time of his firing, would receive more than three times the settlement paid to Love, the man he assaulted.

The council authorized a $100,000 settlement with Love in 2019. Love was charged, but acquitted, of murdering his infant son. But Love was later sentenced to 26 years in prison for kidnapping and human trafficking.

The Love incident isn’t the only time Gomez acted inappropriately and cost the city taxpayers money and others harm. He lied on a search warrant affidavit in 2006, resulting in a man being shot in his own home and the city being subject to a $1 million judgment.

During his time with MPD, Gomez was also arrested, but not formally charged with domestic violence, accused of planting evidence in a homicide investigation by the Wisconsin Innocence Project and failed to read a murder suspect their Miranda rights before obtaining a confession.

The council’s Judiciary & Legislation Committee discussed the payment in closed session. It was still in closed session at the time of publication.

The full council could consider the matter next week. It is to be paid from the city’s damages and claims fund.

Categories: Public Safety, Weekly

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