Partner Bob Gingras of Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs was lead attorney on the legal team responsible for securing a $1.1 million settlement on behalf of David Clash-Miller in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the city of Madison.
The lawsuit stemmed from a 2019 incident in which Clash-Miller — 17 years old at the time — was slammed against a door and repeatedly punched in the head by one of the officers during a mental health crisis (see video).
Police were first called to Clash-Miller’s home after his foster parents and school resource officer requested a police escort to a mental health facility because he had failed to take his medication and was acting irrationally.
A home security camera captured Clash-Miller’s encounter with the police, but no officers were ever charged or disciplined in the case. An outside agency reviewed the evidence and determined that the officers had acted legally but missed opportunities that could have led to a better outcome.
“Hopefully, it will make the police accountable and thank goodness we had a video in the home,” said Bob Gingras.
While the settlement with the city of Madison’s insurance company did not come with an admission of wrongdoing by the police, Gingras hopes the incident will prompt them to more thoughtfully review standard operating procedures moving forward.
This sentiment was echoed by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway back in 2019 when she acknowledged the findings of the outside report and added, “We in the city of Madison aspire to higher performance standards than simply not violating the constitutional rights of those we serve.”
Videos of the Incident
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