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Agreement ends criminal cases against Madison man whose police brutality lawsuit was settled

A man who in September reached a $1.1 million settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit against Madison police settled all nine of the criminal cases pending against him Friday and was sentenced to four years of probation.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors and approved by a judge, David D. Clash-Miller, 21, whose most recent arrest was in September after an incident at a UW-Madison dorm, could face some time in jail or prison if his probation is ever revoked by the state Department of Corrections.

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Under the incentive-laden agreement, Clash-Miller, of Madison, pleaded guilty Friday to four felonies — two counts of burglary, one count of felony bail jumping and one count of making threats to police — and two misdemeanors including battery and disorderly conduct as a hate crime. In total, three years of confinement and two years of extended supervision were ordered but stayed, and instead Clash-Miller will serve four years of probation.

He would serve the confinement time if his probation is ever revoked, but Assistant District Attorney Hector Al-Homsi said it wouldn’t necessarily mean that Clash-Miller would serve all of the confinement time at once because DOC would have the flexibility to revoke probation on only some of the convictions and impose small portions of the time.

Al-Homsi told Circuit Judge Chris Taylor the agreement “adequately addresses the conduct and protects the public.”

Of the nine cases, Clash-Miller pleaded guilty to charges in four of them. Four other cases were dismissed but read into the record for purposes of restitution, and one case was dismissed outright. He was ordered to pay $2,607 in restitution.

David Clash-Miller


Clash-Miller’s probation, which could end after three years if his DOC probation agent agrees, also contains a number of conditions Clash-Miller is to follow, some of which address mental health issues for which treatment is mandated and several provisions barring him from being at certain places, such as the UW-Madison campus, or having contact with several individuals identified as victims.

Taylor agreed to impose the sentences recommended to her jointly by Al-Homsi and Clash-Miller’s lawyers, Adam Welch and Jessica Giesen. Taylor told Clash-Miller that he will have a lot of work to do, but she’s confident he can accomplish it. She urged him to take advantage of the many resources available in the community that can help him.

Taylor noted his childhood, spent mostly as a foster child being shipped from one foster family to another across Wisconsin, and the traumas he faced not only because of his childhood but because of a violent arrest in 2019 by Madison police that became the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed two years later.

The lawsuit alleged a group of officers used excessive force while arresting Clash-Miller, then 17, while he was having a mental health crisis at the home of his foster family. Under the settlement, in which police did not admit to any wrongdoing, Clash-Miller is to get monthly annuity payments of $2,671.06 for 30 years beginning Jan. 1.

The settlement was reached on Sept. 29, the same day Clash-Miller was arrested for making threats at a UW-Madison dorm. During the incidents at Witte Hall, he threatened a woman and called her an “Asian (expletive)” and threatened police who arrested him.

Clash-Miller declined to speak before he was sentenced at Friday’s 90-minute hearing. Giesen said that despite his difficult childhood and mental health challenges, Clash-Miller was never in trouble until a 2018 misdemeanor criminal damage case against him that was dismissed on Friday.

At one point while his cases were pending, he was found incompetent to assist in his defense and was sent to Mendota Mental Health Institute.

“He gets into trouble when his medications aren’t taken,” Giesen said. “He can do well when he’s regulated.”

She said he plans to finish getting his high school diploma and hopes to study design at Madison Area Technical College.

Welch said it saddens him that Clash-Miller is now a felon. But he said that if Clash-Miller, whom he called “smart, creative and charming,” is “prepared to do hard work, he’s going to make progress.”

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