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Protester plans to sue Milwaukee police after controversial arrest

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A protester arrested earlier this month plans to sue the city and the Milwaukee Police Department.

It happened June 2 near 6th and McKinley, during a protest against police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The arrest of 28-year-old Cameron Murdoch immediately sparked backlash and elected officials called for an investigation. 

Cell phone video captured the chaos at 6th and McKinely as police made arrests during the protest.

“It was scary and confusing,” Murdoch said. 

Murdoch says he was walking again when an officer tackled him from behind.

“My face was rubbing in the ground and another cop was kneeing me in the side and I didn’t have much to do because there were two guys on top of me,” Murdoch said. “And the one put his knee on my neck.”

Murdoch, who was ticketed for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, has filed a notice of claim, the first step toward a lawsuit. 

“The whole reason we were out there was to prevent this and prevent the knee on the neck and that’s exactly what happened to me,” Murdoch said.

A couple of days after Murdoch’s arrest, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales defended the arrest in an interview with CBS 58.

“Let me make a correction, it’s not the back of the head,” Morales said. “The tactic is on the upper shoulder. They’re trained to make arrests. That was an arrest that was within policy.”

In a statement Monday, a Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman told CBS 58, “The entire incident that occurred on June 2, 2020, at 6th and McKinley is currently under review.” 

Murdoch is seeking $500,000 dollars in damages. That money or any settlement would be paid using taxpayer money. 

“It’s taxpayer money that’s going to pay for the settlement, so does the police department get penalized or is it just the taxpayers and the city of Milwaukee that gets penalized from these lawsuits?” CBS 58 asked Murdoch and his attorneys. 

“The issue here is that the claim has to be significant,” said Edgar Lin with Ahmad & Associates, LLC. “If the claim is not significant, then the change will not be significant.”

“What Cameron is looking for is accountability and steps the city can take to listen to folks like him,” added Drew J. DeVinney with Martin Law Office, S.C. 

The city has 120 days to file a response to the claim before a formal lawsuit can be filed.

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