On December 18, the arbitrator of the lawsuit Joseph McAdam filed in federal court over the use of excessive force and other constitutional violations made a written opinion about the merits of the case and has awarded $95,000 to McAdam. 

The case stems from a late night summer traffic stop of McAdam's mother, where Joseph was unlawfully detained by officers, being tackled while he walked away from the scene, as per the officers unlawful orders.  In deposition after deposition, the three officers involved, LPD's Matthew Warmuskerken, and Mason County Deputies Oscar Davila and Derek Wilson, admitted there was no legitimate reason to detain McAdam, who was tackled as he walked away and tasered up to five times while lying on the street, while he was at worst passively resisting being handcuffed.  This was all caught on an LPD dash cam and we have it here at the Ludington Torch.

Joseph McAdam was then taken to Ludington's hospital to get treatment for the injuries and wounds the police inflicted, and while there and while handcuffed to a hospital bed, was shot again with tasers from Warmuskerken and Wilson after he refused treatment on his knee injury.  The phone which McAdam had used to film some of the police's actions that night was taken from him by the officers and any footage was conveniently removed by the time he once again got it back when he got out of jail.

To add insult to injury, the county prosecutor then charged Joseph McAdam with five counts of assaulting police officers, even when the footage showed such was the opposite of what had occurred.  Outside of Mason County Michigan, this may be called 'malicious prosecution' if the prosecutor was aware of the facts, and 'perjury' on the officers involved since they were fully aware of the facts and claimed they were assaulted.  To save himself from the local justice system and hard prison time (and what must have seemed to McAdam like systemized injustice) he accepted a plea bargain for one count, under a local attorney's recommendation (who knows how our county works!?)

Free at last to pursue relief for his injuries, Joseph McAdam courageously rebounded, got some out-of-town attorneys and fought back.  But you would hardly know of it, unless you know Joe or have looked up court records, because the City of Ludington and County of Mason are not proud of their involvement in this enough to defend their officer's actions except through their risk management attorneys out of the public eye.  Then when they get a solid result, none of our elected officials comment about it just the hireling City Manager and County Administrator. 

Today, those two people issued a joint statement as a press release.  Press releases issued by the losing side of a court case, arbitration, or settlement are usually loose on the facts.  I can comment on that firsthand by my own experiences with Ludington's City Manager John Shay.  This one has the same problem.  Here it is in its entirety:

The leaders state that the arbitrator has made a verbal ruling on the matter, but they do not mention the only written document that is out there.  The written opinion comments nothing on the matter of excessive force at the traffic stop, nor does it say anything about the County and their training of officers.  It rules on five aspects of the case, and does not say whether this is the final ruling on the whole matter:

The full two page document is here, supplied to me by a FOIA request from the county.  Is there more to come over other unresolved issues in this case?  I would think so, the arbitrator should not overlook writing down the full and complete resolution of the case and leave such far-ranging considerations at oral conclusions.  Be sure and read the articles in the City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews) and the County of Mason Press which effectively run with the press release and add a wee bit more-- but not about what actually happened. 

The Ludington Torch would be happy to present either Joseph or Susan McAdam's account of the matter in our forum as a cautionary tale to those not aware of what amounts to justice sometimes in these parts.  We look forward to publishing the sickening traffic stop in its entirety when we get the technical aspect of it down, and go over what went wrong. 

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Another costly lawsuit the City has lost due to incompetent personnel. 1. Those officers should be prosecuted for the assault on an innocent citizen. 2. The officers should be prosecuted for lying and filing a false police report. 3. The conviction of McAdams for assault and battery should be overturned. 4. The Councilor, Mayor [to late for him] and the City Manager should be removed from office for backing and supporting law breaking and lying officers. The good ol boy system in Ludington is disgusting.


Is it your opinion that I must go to City Council and repeat this post in person or do I have any discretion as to whether I should or should not confront the Council in person. What will meet your approval?

Thanks EyE.  The document says fairly clearly in #5 the award is adjudged against the officers, and not the municipality or the county.  But Shay and Knizacky says tax dollars from the City and County will be used.  Your observation and question are proof that your observations are  becoming more critical on issues.

Warmuskerken and Wilson should pay this blood money, not the whole of our Mason County society, who still have to deal with both officers now employed on the Mason County Sheriff's Office as road officers, capable of inflicting such violence in violation of their training on any one of us, and capable of trying to send an innocent man to prison for many years for assault after what THEY did to him. 

Ouch!  Hope Ludington has deep pockets. I think it should have been more, the next time they'll think first.

No ouch, union/insurance/reserves/no big monetary deal. He should have got a lot more imho. $300-500K would be more like it for his needless suffering. Meanwhile..........end of story?

This might be the first time we agree, I would of certainly of awarded him more. Tasered while handcuffed to a hospital bed. Shame on the officers, I hope the city gives them some sort of reprimand. Now a days all we hear about is bullying by children, this is far worse bullying by law enforcement officers. I hope they at least look back on this situation, and realize they were out of line and make a conscience effort to never repeat.

Back in this thread in July, I went before the council and estimated this lawsuit to cost "$75,000+" to be split between the City and County.  I did pretty good on that estimate.

It may not be the last, I'm not ready to trust our government operation leaders quoting verbal decisions.  I got some supplementary documents later today I have to look through too.

Wow, wish this would have made national news.   He should have been paid a lot more and there should have been some resignations.

I was picturing this assault by the police in my head as I was reading about the incident. Then I pictured the same scenario and replaced the officers with criminals tasering and assaulting  a citizen. What do you suppose the punishment of the criminals would have been, when caught?  Do the police deserve anything less.

Exactly Willy, imho, both these officers deserve no less than firing, and paying the judgements out of their own back pockets, no insurance nor union help either. In addition, the infraction should be a permanent part of their work record, barring further work in LE, so that they can't be hired elsewhere in any similar capacity for LE work. That would send the right and prudent message that these acts will not be tolerated without some real punishment on those that use the badge to break the law. To do anything less, as what I suspect now, is doing nothing, and waiting for these acts to repeat themselves into the future. Meanwhile, people like Barnett and Henderson are going to turn their back on realities, and continue to praise and make commendations on them, to cover their own lack of legal management of these types. If this can happen and be a slap in the face of a small town Ludingtonian, can you imagine what is going on from a big city/national perspective?


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