Jury Awards Man $500K To Man Who Claims He Was Unlawfully Stopped, Frisked By Police

More Than 60 Other Milwaukee Residents Have Sued Department Over Searches, Arrests

The Milwaukee Police Department says a city attorney may appeal the jury's decision. Photo: Vincent Desjardins (CC-BY).

An attorney says a jury verdict awarding a Milwaukee man half a million dollars for being improperly searched and arrested will help avoid similar incidents.

Attorney Russell Ainsworth said the civil rights of his client Leo Hardy were violated during a stop in 2012. Ainsworth said that since the two officers who searched Hardy were not forced to resign, the only way to ensure justice is through damage awards.

“By awarding $500,000 in punitive damages, this jury sent a clear message to every Milwaukee police officer that police misconduct will not be tolerated — that you cannot stop people and frisk them for no reason.”

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Ainsworth also said the city should reform its police department to ensure that taxpayer dollars aren’t spent fighting similar cases. More than 60 people have recently sued Milwaukee over alleged illegal searches.

The Milwaukee Police Department says a city attorney may appeal the jury finding the unlawful stop of Hardy.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said the jury also decided that the officers had not done an illegal strip or cavity search.