Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Investigate Hit-and-Run Detectives
The Journal Sentinel recently reported on the story of Nikki Harris-Brown’s fight to get the officers who investigated the hit-and-run against her disciplined for their failure to properly investigate her case. Back in 2010, Brown and her fiancé got into a verbal altercation with another patron at a bar. When the confrontation spilled into the parking lot, the patron became irate and took his frustration out on Brown. He got into his Ford Expedition, drove onto the sidewalk, and struck Brown. He then proceeded to back up over her, run over her again, and drag her nearly 40 feet under his Expedition until she was finally let loose from the underside of the massive SUV.
Brown believes that the detectives assigned to her case did not thoroughly investigate the accident and did not actively pursue the assailant. Brown spent two days in intensive care and then was transferred to a standard hospital room. During that time, she did not hear from the investigating officers and no one came to the hospital to take pictures of her injuries.
After Brown was released from the hospital, she began her own investigation. She called the police department attempting to get a copy of the incident report that should have been filed on the same day as the hit-and-run, but was told that one had never been filed. She talked to people from the bar where the hit-and-run occurred and found out the suspect’s name. She looked him up in court records and found that he was on probation for dealing cocaine at the time of the hit-and-run. Brown called the police and tried to give them his name, address, and birth date, but no one returned her call until she called her local alderman and the District Attorney’s office. Finally the police called back and took down the information she had for them. The suspect denied being in the area and offered to allow the investigating officer to inspect his car. The officer thought his supervisor would not approve the overtime so decided to put off the car inspection until the next day. When he finally got around to the inspection, both the suspect and the car had disappeared.
It was not until Brown called the suspect’s probation officer that he was arrested and charged with the hit and run. Brown then filed a complaint against the investigating officers with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. She claimed that the officers did not follow department policy because they did not fully investigate the hit and run. The Commission’s investigator concluded that the officers indeed did not fully investigate. The suspect was charged and pled no contest. He was convicted and will be sentenced in January.
The Commission is expected to meet again and determine whether the officers violated department policy. If they have, then the Commission will meet to determine the officers’ punishment. If the Commission finds that the police acted within department policy, the officers will be cleared. Brown is then entitled to file a law suit against the officers in civil court.
This case shows that even those who are charged with protecting us can do harm. While the police were not the ones who caused Brown’s injuries, they exacerbated them by failing to properly investigate her case.
While the investigating officers were slacking on their duties, Brown, with severe injuries, was trying to find the man who callously ran her over in the middle of a parking lot. She may have to continue this fight in the courts and if she does, she should retain the services of a skilled Wisconsin personal injury attorney. If you or someone you know has been injured and needs the advice of an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney please do not hesitate to contact the Groth Law Firm at 1-877-375-7001 for a free consultation.