Shortly after a biracial man was beaten by off-duty Milwaukee police officers in 2004, a police commander investigated a suspected rogue group of officers known as “the Punishers,” who wore black gloves and caps embossed with skull emblems while on patrol, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Capt. James Galezewski twice examined what his report calls a “gang,” concluding that the Punishers represented a danger that warranted further investigation and action by the department.
“This is a group of rogue officers within our agency who I would characterize as brutal and abusive,” Galezewski wrote in 2007, said filings in a civil-rights suit by the 2004 victim, Frank Jude. Police Chief Edward Flynn described the Punishers as a “rumor,” saying that an internal 2008 investigation “could find no evidence that such an organized group ever existed.”