On July 9, 2018, Kenosha Police Officer Ryan McDonough tased a half naked man who had his hands up. What lead up to the tasing is probably why a jury recently found that Officer McDonough’s use of his taser was reasonable.
On July 9, 2018, KPD Officer Ryan McDonough responded to the 6100 block of 24th Ave in Kenosha for a report of disorderly conduct. A woman called police and said that another woman in the building was “causing problems.” McDonough arrived and spoke with a woman who told him that her and a man named Joseph Ferguson, who was now gone, had been fighting. She said he punched her in the face, knocked a phone out of her hands, laid on top of her on the bed, and pointed a knife at her chest threatening to stab her. While McDonough was in his patrol car filling out paperwork, he saw Ferguson, who was driving by. He turned around and followed Ferguson. What happened next was captured on the KPD’s squad camera. Ferguson exited his vehicle and McDonough yelled at Ferguson to get back in his car. He didn’t. McDonough then immediately went “hands on” and started to push Ferguson around. The struggle ended with Ferguson standing on the side of the road with only his underwear on. Ferguson then raised his hands and McDonough then tased him and he and an officer who had just arrived, took Ferguson into custody. McDonough is then seen later taunting Ferguson.
On January 6, 2019, Ferguson filed a Federal Civil rights lawsuit against Kenosha Police with a hand-written complaint. The City attempted several times to get the lawsuit dismissed due to “qualified immunity” and other issues. The Federal US Magistrate Judge, Nancy Joseph who was assigned the case, denied the repeated requests stating in part:
“I have reviewed the videotape and conclude that the videotape does not settle the parties’ dispute. Consistent with Ferguson’s version of events, one reasonable interpretation of the videotape is that at the point that McDonough tased Ferguson, he was standing next to his car with his hands in the air. A reasonable jury could, thus, conclude that the use of the taser was unnecessary and unreasonable.”
The City of Kenosha, unhappy with the ruling, appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Appeals. A three Judge panel sided with Ferguson and allowed the case to continue to trial.
On July 19, 2022, a Jury decided that McDonough’s use of force was not unreasonable.
City Administrator and Former Police Chief John Morrissey had the following to say about the verdict:
“The jury concluded that the officers did not violate the rights of Mr. Ferguson. The trial attorney expressed appreciation of the professionalism of all the officers involved in the trial process. I also appreciate the services of the attorneys involved in presenting the case to the jury. As this case is still under the possibility of an appeal it would be inappropriate to make any further comments.”
As a result of Ferguson’s actions that day, he was charged with:
Felony Intimidate Victim / Domestic Abuse / Repeater
Misdemeanor Battery / Domestic Abuse / Repeater
Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct / Domestic Abuse / Repeater
Misdemeanor Resisting an Officer / Repeater
Misdemeanor Bail Jumping / Repeater
Misdemeanor Operating While Revoked Due To OWI / Repeater
Mike Graveley’s DA’s Office dismissed all charged with the exception of the Disorderly Conduct, Bail Jumping and Operating While Revoked. Kenosha Judge Bruce Schroeder sentenced Ferguson to 2 years of prison and 2 years of extended supervision.