A second white firefighter convicted of a hate crime in a confrontation with a black fisherman received 30 days in jail as part of a probationary sentence after the victim took his side in court Monday.
"I don't think jail in this case is going to be beneficial," Mark Bratton told the judge. "He's not the same person -- and that means a lot to me."
Mark J. Weber, 43, was convicted of disorderly conduct as a hate crime and reckless use of a weapon without the hate crime enhancer for his actions during the confrontation in April 2005 in the town of Merton.
Prosecutors said North Lake Fire Chief Terrance Stapleton used his German shepherd to chase Bratton, and Weber threatened Bratton with a handgun. Both Stapleton and Weber are white; Bratton, of Milwaukee, is black.
Bratton told authorities he did nothing to provoke the incident and was merely fishing with his family.
Stapleton and Weber both later resigned from the Fire Department.
In Waukesha County Circuit Court on Monday, Weber apologized to Bratton, his family, the court and the community.
Defense lawyer Franklyn Gimbel said Weber and Bratton had met one-on-one in a setting of restorative justice.
"These two men met alone, shook hands," Gimbel said. "(Weber) had the opportunity to look his victim in the eye. There was an interaction outside the courtroom and that was restorative to both of them."
Weber was sentenced by Judge Lee Dreyfus Jr. to two years of probation, including 30 days in jail, and 100 hours of community service to an organization primarily serving blacks.
Stapleton, 67, was sentenced in December to 12 months of probation and 100 hours of community service on a charge of disorderly conduct with the hate crime enhancer.
The criminal complaint said Weber, who had been drinking at a nearby restaurant, was forced to stop his truck as Bratton crossed Highway E to fish at the Monches Mill Pond, part of the Oconomowoc River. Prosecutors said Weber used a racial epithet, telling Bratton to get out of town, and Weber and Stapleton, who also had been drinking, came back later and threatened Bratton with the dog and gun.
The insurance company for the North Lake Fire Department has said it paid $67,500 to settle a federal lawsuit over the confrontation, as part of the settlement received by Bratton and his family.
Bratton said after the sentencing that Weber had shown him through his conversation and actions that "he's not that racist person that I met that day."
"I felt he was truly remorseful," he said.