Matthew Eakins was hired as a police officer with the City of Kenosha in the summer of 2018. The three-year veteran of the department is described as a hard-working, good cop by those who work with him.
On November 4, 2020, Eakins found himself on the other side of the criminal justice system. Eakins’ wife called 9-1-1 at about 10 o’clock in the morning to report that her husband had abused their son. The Kenosha Police Department quickly alerted the Sheriff’s department as per their policy. Three Sheriff’s deputies, a supervisor, and two detectives responded. The Sheriff’s department seemed to do everything by the book. They interviewed Eakins, his wife, and the children. Eakins’ wife told deputies that Eakins and her relationship was getting worse and she wants to leave. She said, however that she can’t because he controls all of the money. She does get an allowance for things she needs, but usually spends it on the children. She said her husband demands sex ftom her on a daily basis. He constantly “gropes” her without permission. This behavior, she said caused a verbal fight this time. They began to argue and their 9-year-old son came to figure out what the issue was. The son got mad after his mother told him that Eakins was touching her without permission. That’s when Eakins picked up his son and pretended to through him down the basement stairs, saying “should I throw you down the stairs?” Eakins said he was kidding. The child started to scream and cry, apparently terrified. Eakins then knocked the child down and took a 26″ wooden toy broom and hit him about three times. Deputies photographed large welts on the boy’s lower back but not the injuries on his buttocks. Eakins admitted to hitting his son with the broom and said it was common to use an object such as a shoe or wooden spoon to discipline his children, as they would laugh when he would use his hand and say “that didn’t hurt!”
With nearly a century of law enforcement experience between the six deputies, they made the tough choice – they arrested another cop. They felt that probable cause existed for the arrest. He was taken to the Racine County Jail and booked on one count of Felony Child Abuse – Recklessly Causing Harm. The veteran detective recommended that Eakins be criminally charged, like he has done many times in his career spanning more than two decades. He faced more than 3 years behind bars. In most cases like this, Eakins would have seen a judge and been charged the next day, or soon thereafter. He wasn’t. The Racine District Attorney, Patricia Hanson and her assistants were already starting the process of making this go away – that is, even before the forensic interviews of the children were done and reported the next day at Children’s Hospital. The detective even seemed to be frustrated with this extreme leniency, writing in his report, “the Racine DA’s office was working on some sort of deferred prosecution for this case.” This was the day after the arrest before all of the reports were done. This decision was made before all of the facts could be reviewed.
Get out of Jail Free Card
Hanson approved a deal that allowed Eakins to not be charged with any crime as long as he completed some classes:
Focus on Fathers
6 Hours of Conflict Resolution
Eakins was not disciplined by the Kenosha Police Department.
It is important to note that we ran into tough opposition obtaining some of these records. The Racine County Sheriff’s Office didn’t want to give us Eakins’ mugshots. After much debate, we got them. Patricia Hanson took a month to email us the PDF of the deferred prosecution agreement. She responds to us frequently, but ignores emails when we ask her tough questions, like “Would John Q. Citizen get this same treatment?” She didn’t respond. We didn’t think she would. She has a history of making political charging decisions just like her friend Mike Graveley.
If this case was charged, maybe Eakins could have convinced a jury he didn’t mean to injure his child. Maybe there are circumstance we aren’t privy to that would help Eakins’ case. Maybe he would have taken a misdemeanor plea deal. KPD probably would have ran into a union/legal problems if they disciplined him – after all, he was never charged with a crime. We don’t fault the department.
Eakins might be a hard-working, good cop like others have told us, but here is the problem: he was treated differently by the Racine DA’s office because of his occupation. He shouldn’t have been. Police Officers have a tough job and 99% are heroes, but we need to treat cops the same as everyone else.
If anyone is wondering about the local newspaper, please know that they were made aware of this incident and made the choice not to report on it. This won’t surprise many folks.