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Monday, January 16, 2012

[WI] Girlfriend-Choking Milwaukee Police Officer Cates Evolved Into A Federal Rapist

(See the Journal Sentinel's amazing database, Both Sides of the Law)

Milwaukee Police Officer Ladmarald Cates should have been fired 12 years ago instead of last year after his most recent crime. Choking a woman is - to me - attempted murder and should not qualify for a diversion program designed to preserve the criminal cop's career. It's not a boys-will-be boys kind of crime. When MPD did finally fire him, it was for "idling and loafing" - which sounds nothing like "aggravated rape." Seems his police department and the too-often officer-coddling legal system created a monster who thought he could do what he wants. One of the the multi-million dollar questions is how much pain, suffering, torment and human violation would not have occurred if Cates' criminal career had been nipped in the bud?

....The first was a domestic violence battery in 2000. Cates' then-girlfriend said he shoved and choked her. Prosecutors offered Cates a diversion agreement which allowed him to avoid charges... Ladmarald Cates faces a maximum possible penalty of life in prison if convicted of the two federal felonies, which include violating the woman's civil rights while acting under the color of law and using a firearm in the commission of an act of violence... "Both the District Attorney's office and Milwaukee Police Department have admitted they knew of prior accusations," [the victim's attorney, Robin] Shellow said. "They ought to be ashamed of themselves"...

As I read, I behold the beauty of federal intervention, wondering how many officer-involved crimes should be handled by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office.

...The U.S. attorney's office and FBI began investigating Cates after the Milwaukee County district attorney's office declined to charge him...

Journal Sentinel, Both Sides of the Law
By Gina Barton
Jan. 11, 2012
[Excerpts] A jury on Wednesday found fired Milwaukee police officer Ladmarald Cates guilty of violating a woman's civil rights by raping her after he responded to her 911 call in July 2010. Despite being acquitted on a second count, Cates, 44, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced April 11. He will likely serve far less time under federal sentencing guidelines. The victim in the case cried as the verdict was announced. Afterward, she said she was glad her ordeal had ended. "I really appreciate the federal government helping me," she said. "It means a whole lot to me that I don't have to deal with it anymore, and no other women will have to deal with it. I'm happy he won't hurt anybody else"... The trial, which began Monday, came down to who was more credible: Cates or the victim... Cates had told an internal affairs detective three different stories... Cates was fired from the Police Department in December 2010 for lying and for "idling and loafing" because having sex on duty is against department rules... Last year, a Journal Sentinel investigation revealed Cates had been accused of breaking the law five times before. Three of the previous allegations involved sexual misconduct - two with female prisoners and one with a 16-year-old girl. The alleged incidents date to 2000, three years after he was hired by the department. Internal investigators referred Cates to the district attorney's office for possible charges in two of the previous cases. The first was a domestic violence battery in 2000. Cates' then-girlfriend said he shoved and choked her. Prosecutors offered Cates a diversion agreement, which allowed him to avoid charges by refraining from criminal activity, avoiding violent contact with the victim and undergoing counseling. A conviction on a domestic violence charge would have prevented Cates from carrying a gun under federal law and resulted in his removal from the force. Police also referred Cates to the district attorney's office on allegations of having sex with the 16-year-old in 2007. Prosecutors declined to charge him. Due to the rules of evidence, the jury was not allowed to hear testimony about any of the previous allegations. Attorney Robin Shellow, who was retained by the victim to help her bring the case to prosecutors, said she was proud her client had not given up. "It's humbling to have a client who went out and actively attempted to save the lives of other women," Shellow said. "It was a crime against her civil rights, and it was violence against women. . . . She has achieved justice on behalf of women in Milwaukee, and that doesn't happen very often." [Full article here]

...Cates was interviewed on two occasions, and he lied both times...

December 8, 2010
[Excerpts] A longtime Milwaukee police officer is fired after an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman while he was on duty. The case dates to July, when the 13-year veteran was responding to a report of a fight in the street and wound-up accused of sexually assaulting a young woman. Officers were called in July to a neighborhood around 15th and Center Streets to break up a fight in the street. After they restored order, a 19-year-old woman claimed she was sexually assaulted by 42-year-old Ladmarald Cates, a police officer, while inside her home. The district attorney's office investigated the sexual assault claim and decided against charging Cates, stating that they did not feel they could meet the burden of proof. But the city has decided to fire Cates for his behavior that night and for lying about it later. According to the Fire and Police Commission order upholding Cates' firing by Milwaukee Police, Cates was fired for two counts of untruthfulness, and one count of idling and loafing. That order dated Friday indicates Cates was interviewed on two occasions, and he lied both times. 12 News has learned this is not Cates' first discipline. Prior to this internal investigation, Cates had been suspended on four prior occasions... [Full article here]

FIRED MILWAUKEE POLICE OFFICER CHARGED IN RAPE CASE: He's accused of sexually assaulting woman after she called 911
Journal Sentinel, Both Sides of the Law
By Gina Barton and John Diedrich
Sept. 20, 2011
[Excerpts] A fired Milwaukee police officer was charged Tuesday with raping a woman after he responded to her 911 call in July. Ladmarald Cates faces a maximum possible penalty of life in prison if convicted of the two federal felonies, which include violating the woman's civil rights while acting under the color of law and using a firearm in the commission of an act of violence, the indictment says. The first count includes enhancers for causing bodily injury and aggravated sexual abuse, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Johnson, who is handling the case. Attorney Robin Shellow, who represents the victim, called Johnson "my hero." "With a kind and gentle hand he has made my client's cry in the dark the beam of justice in the future," she said. "On behalf of my client, I want to thank the U.S. attorney's office and those who worked with them for treating her with respect and dignity"... In an earlier interview with the Journal Sentinel, the woman said numerous officers - on the scene and at the police station - accused her of lying when she begged for help and asked them to take her to the hospital. She spent about 12 hours in jail before being interviewed by internal affairs... Only after that was she taken to the hospital for treatment and evidence collection.... The U.S. attorney's office and FBI began investigating Cates after the Milwaukee County district attorney's office declined to charge him. In a letter to Flynn, Assistant District Attorney Aaron E. Hall said he believed the woman's account but didn't think he would be able to prove a sexual assault case in court... Federal investigators believe the woman's allegations are both true and provable, Johnson said Tuesday. "It seemed to us from the very beginning to be credible and serious enough to be worth investigating," he said. "We got to the point, after further investigation, where we felt we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."... In February, a Journal Sentinel investigation revealed Cates had been accused of breaking the law five times before... [Full article here]

WISN 12 News
Brendan Conway
September 21, 201
[Excerpts] A former Milwaukee police officer has been federally indicted and charged with sexually assaulting a woman while on duty... Well known and outspoken attorney Robin Shellow is representing the victim, she praised the U.S. Attorney's office for filing charges after the district attorney declined last year. During a phone interview she had harsh words for Police Chief Ed Flynn, District Attorney John Chisholm and Deputy DA Kent Lovern. She is calling on all three men to resign. "They have blood on their hands," Shellow said. Shellow said Cates had a history of sexual assault that top officials should have known about... "Both the District Attorney's office and Milwaukee Police Department have admitted they knew of prior accusations," Shellow said. "They ought to be ashamed of themselves." Chisholm and Lovern declined to comment on Shellow's words... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety repeat hx wisconsin state politics]


  1. She Dialed 911. The Cop Who Came to Help Raped Her.
    The Daily Beast
    Michael Daly
    Jan 29, 2012 4:45 AM EST

    A young woman in Milwaukee called the cops when someone threw a brick through her window. One of the cops who came to help raped her.

    When the brick crashed through her bathroom window and somebody began kicking in her front door, the 19-year-old single mother of two in Milwaukee dialed what are supposed to be the most trustworthy three numbers.

    “I called 911 for help,” she later said in court. “I didn’t call 911 to be the victim.”

    Within minutes, two police officers responded. One took her 15-year-old brother outside to speak to him. The other cop, Police Officer Ladmarald Cates, gave her boyfriend $10 and told him to go the store and get some water. She told him that he was welcome to chilled water from her refrigerator.

    “I only drink bottled water,” Cates said.

    Her boyfriend has a pronounced limp and set off with no promise of returning soon. Cates asked to see the broken window and she led him down a narrow hallway to a bathroom in the back. She felt sure that jealous neighbors had attacked her happy home because she dared to defy what seemed surely to be her fate as an inner-city teenage single mom.

    “I wanted to be a good example to my kids,” she would later say. “I wanted to learn something, be somebody.”

    She had returned to high school as a mother of two and after graduation she had continued on to the University of Wisconsin, where she was studying criminal justice with the thought of becoming police officer or a lawyer.

    “I thought I was going pretty good,” she would recall.

    She now stood on a floor littered with broken glass and pointed to the brick. The cop she had summoned to protect her instead chose this moment to grab the back of her head by her hair and sodomize her. Then he raped her.

    Her revulsion in the aftermath was so visceral that she vomited as she ran outside. The cop’s partner had become concerned when he did not immediately see Cates and called for back-up. Other cops began arriving and saw a woman screaming incoherently about being raped.

    Cates appeared and grabbed her by the waist, spinning her around. Her swinging feet may or may not have struck the partner. She was handcuffed and taken in, told at the stationhouse that she was being charged with assaulting a police officer.

    She became more coherent but no less outraged and vocal as she continued cry out from a holding cell that she had been raped. She also continued to vomit. The other cops dismissed her as a liar.

    After 12 hours, she was interviewed by internal affairs and taken to a hospital, where a rape kit was used to collect evidence. She was then taken to the county jail and held for four days before being released without actually being charged.


  2. (...Continued)

    She took her story to the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office. A prosecutor subsequently wrote, “While I did find the victim’s version of events credible, I did not believe that her testimony would be strong enough to successfully prosecute Officer Cates.”

    In other words, Cates was still a cop and she was still an inner-city teenage single mom. She stopped going to school as she fell into a deep depression, making two serious suicide attempts.

    “It was killing my soul,” she says.

    She who had so desperately wanted to be a good example for her 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl began to wonder if they should even be with her.

    “Sad and crying all the time,” she says. “I didn’t know if I wanted my kids around, me being upset like that about something that happened to me.”

    Meanwhile, internal affairs confronted Cates with DNA evidence linking him and the victim. He told three different stories, finally saying there had been a voluntary sexual encounter. His victim read in the newspaper that he had been fired for lying and for “idling and loafing” on duty, words that mocked what had been done to her.

    “That really pissed me off,” she says.

    She took some comfort in knowing Cates was not going to be answering any more 911 calls. But he still had not been held accountable for what he did to her.

    “It wasn’t really justice,” she says. “It didn’t say he hurt me.”

    She was sinking only deeper into despair when she went on the Internet and chanced up a photo of an eminent Milwaukee defense lawyer named Robin Shellow.

    “She had a beautiful smile,” the victim recalls. “It was just her smile and the look in her eyes…She’s not mean and she’s a woman … She looked like she could understand me...She looked like she would help.”

    She went to Shellow’s office.

    “I just was giving it a shot. I didn’t think nothing was going to come of it.” Shellow proved to be everything her photo suggested. Shellow also happened to have just finished a case in federal court and she had the number handy for the prosecutor who had been her opponent. Asst. U.S. Attorney Mel Johnson came to her office with an FBI agent to interview her new client. He not only found her credible, he was willing to prosecute.

    “He was a very nice guy,” the victim says. “He kind of made me not afraid.”

    As the case headed for trial, Gina Barton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Cates had been investigated for illegal behavior on five previous occasions, three of them involving sexual misconduct. Two of those were with prisoners. The third was with a 16 year-old and that case had been referred to the Milwaukee district attorney’s office, which declined to prosecute. The priors came as no surprise to the 19-year-old who was now accusing him of raping her while he somehow remained employed as a cop.


  3. (...Continued)

    “I knew it,” she says. “The way he treated me, I knew he had to have hurt somebody else before.”

    But, the law prohibited the prosecution from using Cates’s history to sway the jury. The case was still a she-said-he-said as the victim took the stand. She had been counseled and steadied by Shellow right up to this moment. She was now on her own.

    “I am here today because Officer Cates is a very bad man,” she said. Shellow says that her client was a terrific witness. The victim herself feels otherwise, faulting herself for not being able to convey the enormity of what happened. She does say, “It felt good to look at him and tell him what he did. He was looking at his shoes.” She also felt that whatever her shortcomings he was sure to be convicted.

    “I thought it would be guilty,” she said. “I felt it in my stomach. Anybody with two eyes could see this dude was an animal.”

    On January 11, the jury convicted Cates of violating the victim’s civil rights by raping her.

    “I just heard the 'guilty' and then I left because I was so emotional,” she says.

    She returned to court on Jan. 18, to see Cates remanded, pending sentencing in April, when he faces a maximum of life in prison.

    “I didn’t feel happy,” she says. “I felt like, ‘Finally, it’s over.’”

    She could not help but feel sympathy for Cates’s children.

    “They didn’t do anything,” she says.

    She has chosen to accept the anonymity accorded a sex crime victim as she resumes being the hero of her own particular life. She is back to being the mom she wanted to be for her own kids. And she plans on continuing her studies next semester, though she has seen enough of the legal system to have a new career goal.

    “A nurse or a doctor,” she says.


    ...This woman is a true hero. She persisted and won. Even if she had not won she would still be a hero because she persisted and did the right thing. I am so glad this animal is in prison for the rest of his life, where he belongs. Why anyone below mentions racism is beyond me. We do not know if the victim was African American or white or Asian or what. And who cares? This is a crime committed by a violent animal to an innocent young woman, and sadly, she's not the first!

    To the victim: Your children will be so proud of you when they realize what you have done. You are an example to your entire community. You have done everything right, and you have honor and great value. I wish you all the success in the world, with your education, your family, and your future. You deserve it, and so much more...

    ...I commend that woman for telling her story and keeping with it as it cost her a lot. The truth always wins out, sometimes it just takes a little while. While most who do wear the uniform are there for the right reasons, there are still some that should never wear the uniform. It's up to the public and co-workers to make sure the ones who shouldn't don't. The only problem with that is that there are many lies that come in from the public for many reasons. However, like i said, the truth always comes out when kept to. I truly wish her and her family well.

  5. To the strong, amazing, determined, wounded, resilient, outspoken, brave woman who endured this degrading assault - you SHINE! You are a victor more than a victim. I will pray for your compete healing and success.

    Live long and prosper.


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