The Fifth Screw

When Milwaukee County Deputy Joseph Quiles t-boned the car, he knew there was going to be a problem.  So he did what he had to do, lie through his teeth, blame the victim and rely on the kindness of his brothers in blue to make sure someone’s butt was protected. That butt was his.

Tanya Weyker was hurt so badly, she couldn’t blow into a breath-testing device or perform field sobriety tests.  But a Sheriff’s deputy arrested her for drunk driving anyway.  And the County hung those charges over her head for nearly a year, even long after blood tests proved she was perfectly sober.

Five months later, it was absolutely certain that she was stone sober.  Weyker made a rookie mistake when first asked what happened. She told the truth.

As rescue workers tended to Weyker, police and Sheriff’s deputies started asking questions.

“One asked if I had anything to drink that night,” she said. “And I told them a few sips from a friend’s drink.”

A deputy noted a light odor of alcohol on her breath. He said her speech was slurred. And her eyes looked red and glassy.

“I explained to him my eyes were red and glassy because I was crying,” she said.

When asked about her use of prescription drugs, Weyker says she told the truth.

“I just got my wisdom teeth pulled out, so they gave me Vicodin for that. I told them it was little over a week since I took the Vicodin,” Weyker said.

Quiles knew better. He lied.

In his official report, Deputy Quiles wrote that he stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways before pulling out.  He told a Milwaukee police officer that he never saw any headlights, even though Weyker’s Camry had lights that come on automatically.

Guess who won that swearing contest?  Weyker ended up with her neck broken in four places, arrested and prosecuted for non-existent drunk driving, which continued after her blood test proved she wasn’t drunk.  You can’t believe that science-y stuff, you know. Not when the alternative, that your cop-buddy damn near killed the girl and lied about it, is unthinkable.

As Radley Balko notes, this is another “but for video” case (a phrase that he shamelessly stole from me without any attribution I might add).

To this point, this looks like a story about a bad cop who possibly tricked his colleagues into helping him cover up an accident he caused by blaming it on the woman he nearly killed. But it gets worse. From Fox 6:

The truth might never have surfaced were it not for video from a nearby airport surveillance camera. It shows what investigators say is Deputy Quiles’ squad car traveling west on Hutsteiner Avenue, then continuing onto Howell without making a complete stop, as Quiles claimed in his report. The Sheriff’s Office knew about the video just two days after the crash. But no one told Weyker.

Instead, the County sent letters blaming her for the crash and threatening legal action if she didn’t pay for the damage.

So the sheriff’s department had the video that exonerated Weyker two days after the accident, but it continued to allow prosecutors to prosecute her on provably false charges, even as she lay in traction in a hospital bed. And were it not for that video, it seems likely that she’d still be facing charges. (Add this to the growing bank of “But for video …” stories.)

The usual rationalization for police concealing the evidence that proves a person innocent is that they’re bad dudes, they deserve it anyway, if not for this, then for something.  Tanya Weyker wasn’t bad. There was nothing bad about her.  Of all the things in the world she didn’t deserve, she didn’t deserve any of this. Not the physical injury. Not the lies. Not the concealment of evidence that proved she was in the right. Not the insult of demanding that she pay damages for the crash.

To the extent that anyone, anywhere, can sleep at night knowing the truth about what Milwaukee County was doing to this poor woman, there is no explanation other than psychopathy.  When the lies are directed toward a bad dude, they are just wrong and grossly misguided.  But when the lies, coupled with the many layers of harm and insult heaped atop the four places where her neck was broken, are directed toward someone as deserving of sympathy and truth as Weyker, it takes a diseased mind to do it, enable it, acquiesce in it.

This is one sick story.

But what about poor Deputy Quiles, who certainly didn’t want one bone-headed roll through a stop sign to ruin his otherwise glorious career in law enforcement?

There’s more. Apparently, Quiles’s injuries from the accident weren’t particularly all that serious. According to Fox 6, he was treated and released the night of the crash. Yet he has been on paid medical leave ever since and has cited the accident in an attempt to avoid paying child support. He is also now asking for permanent disability pay. Quiles has apparently been disciplined for running a stop sign, but he has not been disciplined for filing a clearly false police report and attempting to frame an innocent woman whom he badly injured. He also apparently has a history of filing reports written by others.

All the other deputies at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office breathed a deep sigh of relief knowing that Quiles wasn’t killed by this drunken women.  Unfortunately, it appears that concerns for Quiles sucked all the empathy out of Milwaukee County, so much so that no one had any left for Tanya Weyker, the sober, t-boned, broken-necked, honest woman who nearly killed their brother deputy.

6 comments on “The Fifth Screw

  1. Wheeze The People™

    Hey, if you have the power, you might as well use and abuse it. Is that so hard for you to understand?? Sheesh . . .

  2. Charlesmorrison

    The most choice part of the linked news article is the officer stating in response to an internal investigator’s question as to what happened: “I’ve been told I rolled the stop sign.”

    Was he told different prior to making his previous statement? Apparently, he had no personal knowledge of the event in question.

    Must be nice to enjoy (apparent) immunity for false statements, filing false police reports, etc. It will be as telling as it will be sad if the only repercussion this officer suffers is the pushback re: his disability payments.

    I really hope this young, innocent girl is made whole.

  3. Jesse

    This one makes a person wonder if there’s a single person employed in Milwaukee County law enforcement that is honest.

    From the cop that did it and lied, to the other cops that protected him by enabling and reporting his lies as well as making unsupported charges against a gravely injured young girl, to the county sheriff that knew about the video and concealed it, to the prosecutor that simply dropped the charges in the face of irrefutable proof of false reporting and malicious prosecution……

    From now on every citizen’s contact with a Milwaukee sheriff’s deputy should begin with “so what do you think of that whole Tanya Weyker thing? You still work with those guys? Or were you one of them?”

  4. SPO

    You’d think that the internet would make this cop radioactive. What judge would ever let this criminal in blue testilie in his courtroom?

    Milwaukee seems to have its fair share of sociopaths in uniform. Didn’t they let some guy die in the back of a squad car–all the while calling him sir. Didn’t some serial digital rapist ply his trade for years?

    Now this woman faces ruinous medical bills, rehab and she got nary a “sorry about that.”

    Dude, where’s my country?

    1. SHG Post author

      Yeah, Milwaukee has had an awful lot of issues in the past few years, which suggests that the good people around there have a very serious problem on their hands.

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