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You may remember the case of the ‘Culver’s Five,’ a group of men legally open carrying in Madison Wisconsin who were surrounded by MPD cops. Two of the five refused to produce their IDs as requested and were arrested. All were subsequently charged with disorderly conduct…

Once the City of Madison thought better of it (translation: actually read the law and discovered that open carry was legal in the state of Wisconsin) they dropped all charges against the five. But that didn’t stop the men, with the help of Wiconsin Carry, from suing the bastards.

Now comes the news, courtesy of, that the city has settled the suit with – naturally – no admission of wrongdoing on the part of the city or the police officers.

In a letter (PDF) to Madison Common Council members, city attorney Michael May says the city has settled. “Based on the cost of defense and the possible costs of an adverse verdict, the city reached agreement to settle the entire case (all five plaintiffs) for a total of $10,000,” May wrote.

We’re sure the taxpayers of Madison won’t mind footing the bill for a bunch of poorly trained cops who don’t know the laws they’re attempting to enforce. What the hell, it works for the city of Philadelphia. Why not in Madison, too?

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  1. The City of Madison would rather pay the money. After all do remember the money the City is spending isn’t coming from the politicians’ pockets.

    Should H.R. 822 make it out of the Senate via some miracle, an amendment should be attached making a city or state government head personally liable (read the Mayor or Governor pays up out of his own wallet) for damages in the event a citizen’s right is infringed. It is against the Constitution to do so after all….

    • Wait a minute! You want to hold our public servants PERSONALLY responsible for their actions while in office?

      Free thinker! Free thinker! Stone him, quick, before he infects others!

    • I agree. Furthermore, since the “only ones” are given special privileges, anytime one of them is convicted of a crime, the maximum sentence, without suspension or parole, should be mandatory as well. I call for more tougher “only one’s” control laws!

  2. poorly trained cops who don’t know the laws they’re attempting to enforce

    You’re assuming that the cops didn’t know the law. I’m assuming that they knew the law and that they decided to abuse their power, as cops like the famous Officer Harless and thousand more like him are apt to do. Since there are rarely any repercussions when the police abuse their authority, you can anticipate more of it.

  3. They got off easy. The plaintiffs’ lawyers must have decided to get a Christmas bonus rather than doing a 1983 suit.

    • Keep in mind that the Civil Rights Actof 1871, codified as 42 U.S.C. § 1983, was one of the anti-Klan laws. Pursuant to Monroe v. Pape, Sec. 1983 requires that there’s no state remedy available (as there was in the 1870s because those hooded bastards were running the state).

      How would it be possible for the Culver Five to meet the threshold of “no available state remedy” when they just received a state remedy?

  4. The plaintiff’s lawyer would have got almost nothing out of that settlement of $10,000 so it wasn’t a Christmas bonus.

    I’ll let a lawyer correct me if I’m wrong. The individual officers would be named if they wanted to make this a 1983 claim, but this would be very difficult to prove as a Monell case. Plus the damages are pretty small so the only one who’d get a real payday is the plaintiff’s attorney who can collect on a civil rights claim.

    • I realized I may not have been clear there. So the Plaintiff’s attorney would have to prove up a monell claim to make any bank and that’s very hard.

      Also, Police generally have some legal protections because of all the unfounded claims against them. Some of these claims may be deserved, but you’d be amazed how many absolutely bogus claims a police agency gets in a year.

      • Successful Monell cases are as common as lunar eclipses, and the rules are getting ever more restrictive.

        One of the requirements for a Monell case is misconduct that is “shocking.” These guys were arrested, which courts are unlikely to find shocking. Now if the cops had beaten the sh!t out of them, that might be considered shocking. Except in Seattle, where beating the sh!t out of people, or even shooting them for jaywalking, is accepted police procedure.

        The bottom line is that a good lawyer won’t try to make a federal case out of a local matter.

          • I’m not an attorney, but in my state they aren’t immune- it’s just that the standard is higher. Instead of negligence, it’s reckless disregard.So you have to show the officer went purposefully or so ignorantly against the public good that it was, as Ralph says, shocking.

            They have qualified immunity for serving warrants and things like that, but it’s pretty limited.

            • Things go to a much higher standard and the deck and legal system is heavily stacked in their favor. Good luck with that one.

  5. 10K and no admission of guilt. Yippie, the war against Tyranny is now over, we can stop and breath easy. WTF, when will we stop settling suits like this? makes it look like it’s about nothing but money and 10K isn’t that much money. After the lawyers cut, the guys will probably get 20 bucks each. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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