Both a cop and his prime homicide suspect have walked away free men. But it’s the cop who’s gathered most of the attention. Donald Love was picked up by Milwaukee police on August 14, 2013, after his infant son died in a local hospital of traumatic brain injuries. Love wasn’t just a “person of interest.” He was alone in the house with the infant at the time the injury occurred.
Love was interrogated by detective Rodolfo Gomez Jr. This questioning was recorded. The highlight reel, as it were, doesn’t show much interrogation. It shows Gomez attacking the restrained suspect on two separate occasions. Love was punched, kicked and jabbed in the eye with Gomez’s thumb. The latter — and more excruciating “interaction” (caution: the video hosted here contains some very unnerving screaming) — occurred during Gomez’s “follow-up questioning,” and appears to have been provoked by Love’s justifiably angry yelling.
A jury acquitted Love of all charges more than year later. Another jury also acquitted Gomez of all charges, despite watching him assault a handcuffed man.
How do you defend someone against charges related to a videotaped beating? Well, you do everything you can to cast the person handing out the beating as the real victim. His defense lawyers helped, but they had to fight an uphill battle against both damning video footage and statements made by Gomez himself, most of which gave the indication that he had no idea how to handle a potentially dangerous individual.
First, Gomez admitted he said something he knew would provoke an angry response. Then he claimed his short-term memory went all haywire in the heat of the moment.