Committee Approves $50,000 Settlement For Child Left In Towed Vehicle
2018 incident involving intoxicated mother mishandled by police and city sued.
The City of Milwaukee is poised to spend $50,000 for a legal settlement stemming from a 2018 incident where a four-year-old child was left in the back of a vehicle towed to the city’s vehicle impound lot. The child spent more than seven hours in the lot before she was discovered “very upset and crying.”
On Nov. 12, 2018, the Milwaukee Police Department took the child’s mother, Blair Springfield, into custody after police found her passed out in a minivan. She was issued two citations for operating while intoxicated.
“That’s actually disputed on the body [camera footage],” said assistant city attorney Stacy Miller. Police encountered the van, which was out of gas, as a result of a call from a county bus driver. Another adult passenger, holding Springfield’s 10-month-old baby, had gotten on the bus to stay warm. There were no car seats in the minivan.
Borkowski said he would oppose the settlement.
“The child did go to the hospital after and–” said Miller, before she was cut off by her boss, deputy city attorney Robin A. Pederson.
“You won,” said Ald. Robert Bauman to Miller, meaning that a majority of the committee supported the settlement after discussing the case in closed-session, so there was no need to continue arguing the issue.
The committee recommended the city pay the settlement, with only Borkowski voting no. The full council will review the settlement on Nov. 22.
The settlement would resolve a federal lawsuit filed in 2021. The child and her unidentified guardian are represented by attorney Mark Thomsen.
Springfield was sentenced to 10 months in the House of Correction for the incident.
Two police officers, Fabian Garcia and James P. Collins were suspended as a result of the incident. Collins was the officer who stepped on Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown‘s leg in his 2018 arrest. Thomsen represented the basketball player in securing a $750,000 settlement, policy changes and a public apology.