EC Police Chief Speaks Out After Jury Verdict

EC Police Chief Speaks Out After Jury Verdict

Please see the following message from Chief Matt Rokus

Dear Eau Claire Community Members:

Last week a City of Eau Claire police officer was found guilty in a civil trial of violating an arrestee’s civil rights. The jury determined that our officers did not have a legal basis to initiate a traffic stop, that our officers’ prosecution of actions against the arrestee were malicious, and awarded the arrestee $550,000.00 in damages for these actions. Our officer was found not guilty of using excessive force.

I am extremely disheartened by the jury’s verdict and the damages awarded in this matter. The facts of this case demonstrate the actions of our officers were appropriate and not malicious. Our officers witnessed multiple traffic violations before initiating a traffic stop, and had a legal basis to detain the arrestee and to search his vehicle. After drugs were discovered in the vehicle officers applied for and received a warrant to search the arrestee’s room at the Regency hotel where drugs were found in the presence of children.

We are evaluating our best strategy to appeal this verdict. We will continue to be transparent with our community as more information about these events and next steps become available.

To that end, we have released the in-squad video of this incident so that the community can evaluate the work done by our officers. Please note these events occurred in 2019, prior to a significant upgrade to our in-squad video system and our officers being equipped with body-worn cameras. The in-squad video is the only available footage. A link to this video is posted below:

Despite the disappointment, and dispute of facts this case represents, we remain committed to continual improvement. I am proud of the great work done by the men and women who serve in the Eau Claire Police Department to keep our community safe. Each day our officers risk their life and livelihood to protect others. We take this responsibility seriously and strive to do so with compassion, professionalism and integrity.


Matt Rokus

Chief of Police

Eau Claire Police Department

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