Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

$175,000 Settlement For Violent 2018 Arrest

Demetrious Lowe alleges police beat him after knocking him to the ground during mental health episode.

By - Feb 10th, 2023 03:50 pm
Milwaukee City Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee City Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee will pay $175,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit where a 25-year-old male claimed he was kicked and beaten after being subdued by several Milwaukee Police Department officers while experiencing a mental health episode.

The Common Council unanimously approved the settlement Tuesday, as was recommended by City Attorney Tearman Spencer.

Demetrious Lowe, now 30, sued the city and nine police officers as a result of the 2018 incident. It started when his girlfriend called 911, alleging Lowe was being violent and may have been drugged.

Videos of the incident show both Lowe and a police officer with bloodied faces, while Lowe ignores a repeated command to get on the ground. Lowe was pepper sprayed, hit with a Taser and struck in the leg with a baton. He attempted to punch an officer before other officers drove Lowe to the ground, a period in which his lawsuit says he was tased. Lowe is depicted being punched, kicked and hit with a baton while on the ground under a group of officers.

Four officers and Lowe went to the hospital with injuries. Then-police chief Alfonso Morales placed one of the officers that responded to the incident on a paid suspension. Three others were placed on administrative duty pending an internal affairs investigation.

Lowe, according to his lawsuit, was already bleeding from his left arm before officers arrived.

He was charged with three counts of felony battery to a law enforcement officer. Lowe pled guilty to those charges in 2019, but was found not guilty by reason of “mental disease/defect” and committed to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for 2.5 years with a conditional release. That supervision expired in 2021.

The nine officers named in Lowe’s lawsuit were Donald Gaglione, Jr., Brandon Rutherford, Peter Hauser, Daniel Sutyak, Daniel Pierce, Bradley Nickel, Michael Mattioli, Robert Guetchidjian and Andrew L. Langer.

Mattioli currently faces a homicide charge and upcoming trial for the death of Joel Acevedo in an illegal 2020 party held at Mattioli’s home. Mattioli allegedly put Acevedo in a chokehold after an argument and Acevedo died. The trial is set to begin in June.

Alderman Michael Murphy voted against the settlement when it was before the Judiciary & Legislation Committee, but did not vote against it when it was before the full council. There was no debate at the committee meeting, nor the council meeting. Before the committee vote, chair Alderman Mark Borkowski indicated the matter had been discussed multiple times in closed session.

In a letter to the council, Spencer cited the potential greater expense of the case going to trial.

Lowe’s lawsuit says the officers “caused pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, and other personal injury justifying an award of compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by the jury” and the officers “, directly and personally, recklessly and intentionally, violated the 4th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, justifying an award of punitive damages.”

Lowe is represented by attorney Paul A. Strouse.

The city and Strouse undertook a mediation process after an initial discovery process. The mediator recommended a settlement be explored.

The lawsuit will be paid from the council’s Damages and Claim Fund.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us