Yesterday, I spoke of Scott Walker's tough talk on the 2009 budget. He wants to cut back on just about everything. He probably needs to save up all that money to pay for the lawsuit settlements that he caused.
Way back in October 2007, I wrote about Freddie Dudley, who supposedly escaped from the Community Correctional Center. At that time, I questioned Walker's motives in moving so fast against the officers. I repeated these concerns in December, when a corrections manager fired by Walker, won her case against the firing. Then I raised more concerns just this past month, when it turned out Dudley wasn't the killer after all.
Today, JSOnline reports (emphasis mine):
Officers in 'escape' case to keep jobs
Three more Milwaukee County House of Correction officers blamed for an inmate escape that never happened had their proposed firings withdrawn today by the county.
The officers - Steven Stahl, 38; Raffael Nash, 40; and Allamont Perine, 38 - had each been accused of improperly counting inmates at the county work-release center and allowing an inmate to escape. Disciplinary charges against the three said they had counted inmate sign-in cards rather than the inmates themselves.
The county Personnel Review Board was told today the charges against Stahl, Nash and Perine were being withdrawn. No reason was given. The three will be reinstated with back pay. They have been suspended without pay since disciplinary charges were issued seven months ago.
The charges were issued two months after inmate Freddie Dudley confessed to a Sept. 20 homicide. Dudley initially told prosecutors he had a friend sign in under his name at the work-release center at 1004 N. 10th St. last Sept. 19 and that Dudley shot a man later that night on the city's west side. The center, a satellite of the House of Correction, is a non-secure facility in which inmates check themselves in and out for work and other appointments. They are required to spend nights there.
The killing prompted a public outcry, and County Executive Scott Walker said any officers to blame should be punished harshly.
Dudley recanted his confession and prosecutors dropped reckless homicide charge against him last month, saying Dudley copped to the killing "to gain sympathy from his wife." Two others have been charged in that killing.
Darlene Jones-Grams, the former manager of the work-release center, also was suspended without pay over the Dudley case. Her proposed firing was overturned by the personnel board in December.
I've worked with all of these officers. I know them all. I've also kept in touch with friends that still work at the House of Corrections. I've learned that one of the fired officers lost his home. He also lost the custody of his children, as he didn't have a home. He also had a hard time finding a job because of the bad rap he was given by Walker's bogus charges.
Oh, sure, these officers will get their jobs back, with back pay for the past seven months. But how does one get his house back? Get his family back? Walker won't have to pay for any of the punitive damages that might stem from the probable lawsuits that will follow. We, the taxpayers, will get to foot that bill.
But Walker could at least apologize to the officers. And to us. But I won't hold my breath. He's probably hoping people will forget this by 2010.
UPDATE: In the full article in Wednesday's paper, not only does Walker not apologize, he claims he's looking for other way's to punish the officers for doing their jobs the way they were trained to. What a clown!
(And I will accept mea culpas from those who doubted me.)