With superhero films more popular than ever, and movies like 'Kick-Ass' demonstrating that people don't need super powers to don a cape and fight crime (see our post from yesterday about a real-life Kick-Ass), we've seen a rise in real-life stories about wannabe heroes in costumes duking it out with criminals. The tales tend to be good for a chuckle (and maybe a twinge of fear for the safety of these wannabe crime fighters) but little else. We write them off as another case of life imitating art. What happens, though, when someone takes a comic book character and emulates them in a negative way? We haven't had our first case of a person imitating a super-villain, but if Bleeding Cool's recent story about a group of Milwaukee police officers emulating the tactics of Marvel Comics' 'The Punisher' is any indication, that could be right around the corner.
Details of the alleged secret organization within the Milwaukee PD have emerged with the release of new documents in Frank Jude Jr.'s federal civil rights lawsuit against the city. Jude claims he was severely beaten, stripped, called racial slurs and threatened with a knife and a gun by members of the group after an officer's badge went missing at an off-duty gathering.
Shortly after that event (three officers were tried and acquitted on criminal charges. Four others were added to the civil case and lost) Milwaukee PD Captain James Galezewski started an investigation that found evidence of what he classified as a "gang" of officers operating inside the larger force who called themselves "The Punishers" and donned black caps and gloves with skull symbols on them as they went about their business.