Source AP ©

Three former Milwaukee police officers face prison term for racism

Three white former police officers face prison term for the brutal beating a biracial man in Wisconsin – the case that outraged the city and made people demonstrate on the streets.

Jon Bartlett, 36, Daniel Masarik, 27, and Andrew Spengler, 28, will be sentenced Thursday. They were convicted of taking part in the beating of Frank Jude Jr. outside Spengler's housewarming party in October 2004.

In July, a jury determined the three violated Jude's civil rights and conspired to assault him while acting as officers.

Jude, 29, said the confrontation began as he was leaving the party, when a group of men surrounded his truck and dragged him out, accusing him of taking Spengler's police badge.

He said the attackers kicked and punched him, put a knife to his throat and jammed a pen in his ears as he begged for mercy. Jude said he heard Spengler call him a racial slur.

No badge was ever found.

"They came close to killing Mr. Jude," said his attorney, Jonathan Safran. "They caused him serious permanent physical injuries and mental injuries he and his family will have to deal with the rest of their lives."

The trial is the second round in a case that has haunted Milwaukee. The three men were acquitted of most state charges by an all-white jury in April 2006. Federal authorities filed the civil rights charges six months later.

In the days after the state trial, black and white residents, including the city's mayor, expressed their outrage at community meetings. Up to 2,000 people marched from the Milwaukee County courthouse to the federal courthouse.

In February 2005, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper published a front-page photo showing Jude's swollen, misshapen face just after the beating.