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Former police officer gets more than 2 years of imprisonment for racial attack

More than two years in federal prison were ruled for a former police officer who took part in a racially charged attack involving a group of white, off-duty officers.

Jon Clausing pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate the civil rights of Frank Jude Jr., who is biracial, and Lovell Harris, who is black. Clausing admitted cutting Harris' face during the conflict in which Jude was severely beaten outside another officer's housewarming party.

The sentencing, and another scheduled later Thursday for former officer Joseph Schabel, are the final ones in a case that has haunted Milwaukee since February 2005, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a front-page photo of Jude's swollen, misshapen face.

Clausing apologized to Jude and Harris on Thursday, crying at times as he read his statement. Clausing said he did not recognize himself in his actions that night and would not ask Jude for forgiveness because he has not forgiven himself.

Harris accepted Clausing's apology and said, "I just hope we all learn from this."

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller gave Clausing a two-year, four-month sentence he will begin serving Jan. 15.

Clausing was one of eight officers charged by federal prosecutors. Three were convicted by a federal jury of violating Jude's civil rights and are serving prison terms of more than 15 years.

One officer, Ryan Packard, was acquitted, and four, including Clausing and Schabel, pleaded guilty.

Jude said he was attacked after he and Harris accompanied two white women to the housewarming party in October 2004.

Jude and others said that as the four left the party, he was accused of taking a badge and severely beaten. He said he was kicked and punched, a knife was put to his throat and a pen was jammed in his ears as he begged for mercy. No badge was ever found.

After three former officers were acquitted in a state trial, black and white residents, including the mayor, expressed their outrage at community meetings. The police department disciplined 13 officers after the beating, including nine who were fired.